Marty Goddard

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Marty Goddard in an interview to Victim Oral History Project.

Martha 'Marty' Goddard (c. 1941 – 2015) was an American victims' advocate who was instrumental in developing the rape kit, used to methodically collect forensic evidence from victims of rape.[1][2][3]

In the early 1970s, Goddard worked as a victims' advocate in Chicago, where an estimated 16,000 women were raped each year and police often would not believe victims.[3] To improve the chances of offenders being identified and sentenced, she developed the concept and organization of a rape kit, a standardized way of collecting and preserving forensic evidence from victims of rape.[3] She brought this idea to Louis R. Vitullo, who worked in the Chicago police crime lab. At first, he yelled at her and rejected her idea, according to Goddard's colleague Cynthia Gehrie, but then he proceeded to develop a kit similar to Goddard's design, taking personal credit for the invention.[3]

In the mid-1970s, Goddard founded the Citizens Committee for Victim Assistance, which advocated and sought funding for the distribution of rape kits; much of the initial funding came from the Playboy Foundation.[2]

Goddard continued to advocate for the rights of sexual assault victims through the 1980s, but developed a problem with alcohol and lived her later years in obscurity in Arizona.[3]


  1. ^ "Marty Goddard Biography & Interview Summary". An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field Video and Audio Archive. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b Ravitz, Jessica (21 November 2015). "The Story Behind the First Rape Kit". CNN. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Kennedy, Pagan (17 June 2020). "The Rape Kit's Secret History". New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2020.