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Experts say at-home rape assessment kits aren’t best option. But this entrepreneur is selling them to sororities, military

Experts say at-home rape assessment kits aren’t best option. But this entrepreneur is selling them to sororities, military
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Evan Robinson-Johnson | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)

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By the time she was 23, Madison Campbell had racked up more than a dozen cease-and-desist letters and was seated at a deposition table, staring down lawyers who argued she was endangering the same vulnerable people she claimed to be helping.

In the five years since, the Bridgeville, Penn., native has won accolades for helping sexual assault survivors, first in Forbes magazine, and most recently when she was crowned Miss Pittsburgh in the 2023 pageant — a month before moving her DIY rape assessment startup from Brooklyn to her hometown.

One thing hasn’t changed since she first started promoting Me Too Kits in 2019: Her product hasn’t actually been used in court.

Her adviser, chief operating officer and testing lab each told the Post-Gazette that the carefully packed sets of swabs she now markets as “early evidence kits” cannot be used as evidence at trial. What the tests do tell you, her testing lab in Deerfield Beach, Florida, said, is whether “foreign” DNA is present on your swab.

“You would need more information” to prosecute a case, said Allison Nunes of DNA Labs International.

Campbell, who has said she was a victim of sexual assault in college, makes the case that her startup company, now called Leda Health, is selling a product to help individuals who have been assaulted but don’t want to rely solely on the official process of going to a hospital or to the police to be tested for proof against the perpetrator.

Kits sold by Leda Health are packaged by Morel Ink in Portland, Oregon. They include DNA swabs resembling Q-tips from Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, Maine.

Users are instructed to collect DNA from their mouth and vagina, with the samples then sent — using prepaid shipping labels — to DNA Labs via FedEx. Each kit costs the company $12 to make. They have been sold, so far, to sororities and nonprofits.

The controversy over such kits isn’t limited to those Campbell’s company sells. With reports of huge piles of official rape kits going untested for years in labs around the country — whether because of a lack of resources or differences in priorities — the potential market is there.



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