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Glowing dye could put more rapists in jail

After a rape, forensic nurses fully document sexual assault victims’ injuries by using a dye that causes lacerations and tears on the skin to “light up.” But the dye—a dark blue—doesn’t show on people of color, and that often means the perpetrators go free.

A dye that works on all skin colors could allow forensic nurses to better document injuries resulting from sexual assault—and increase the odds of justice for women of color.

“I don’t have a magic way to tell what happened,” says Kathryn Laughon, associate professor in the School of Nursing at University of Virginia, “but at least all the victims are getting the same effectiveness from an exam. When we do find significant injuries, perpetrators are twice as likely to be charged, and then twice as likely to go to jail.”

Of the 17 million American women who have been raped, 85 percent of them are women of color (19 percent black, 7 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 35 percent American Indian/Alaskan, and 24 percent are mixed race), though women of color comprise just over a third of the female population (36.3 percent).

Full story at Futurity.

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Photo credit: U. Virginia

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