”I was in shock. I was outraged and I just assumed kits were being tested,” said actress Mariska Hargitay about the thousands of rape kits in Detroit and across the country that have been left sitting in storage without being processed, allowing rapists to remain free to attack again. And they often do.
Hargitay joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to announce legislation that will soon be introduced to state lawmakers that is aimed at setting guidelines and deadlines for rape kits tests to be processed.
"Testing rape kits is vital for keeping rapists off the street," said Hargitay during Monday’s press conference.
Over 11,000 sexual assault kits, some dating back to the 1980’s, were found abandoned in a Detroit Police storage facility back in 2009.
Not long after the rape kits were discovered, Worthy pushed to start the processing with Michigan State Police.
So far, 1,600 rape kits have been processed, resulting in the identification of about 100 serial rapists and ten convicted rapists, according to Worthy.
Worthy told reporters that perpetrators have moved on from Michigan to commit similar crimes in 23 other states.
"It was mind blowing to me," said Hargitay that so many rape kits have gone unprocessed. "My head exploded.. We have the means to do it and DNA equals justice."
Hargitay, best known for her role as Sergeant Olivia Benson on the television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has also become an advocate for real life victims of sex crimes. She founded the Joyful Heart Foundation that works to “heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.”
Nationally, an estimated 400,000 rape kits have gone unprocessed, allowing rapists to remain free and their victims to wonder if they will ever see justice.
"These rape kits in Michigan are over 25 years old," said Worthy. "Want to make sure we deal with the victims mercifully, honestly and genuinely."
Fourteen prosecutions have resulted from what is being called the “Detroit Rape Kit Project”, including the case of DeShawn Starks, 32.
11,000 abandoned rape kits dating back to the 1980’s.
100 serial rapists identified in 1,600 finally tested.
They moved on to commit similar crimes in 23 other states.
An estimated 400,000 rape kits remain untested nationally.
Meanwhile half of the prison population in America is there for non-violent, drug-related offenses.
Kym Worthy pushed for this so hard.
The Detroit Crime Commission is supporting an initiative spearheaded by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy to test thousands of rape kits that were never submitted for testing. During a tour of a Detroit Police Department Property storage facility, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office discovered more than 11,000 rape kits dating back nearly twenty-five years. Each of those kits represents a woman, man or child who suffered a violent assault and underwent a lengthy and physically invasive evidentiary collection procedure in an effort to apprehend his or her assailant. Each rape kit has the potential to solve multiple crimes. If tested, a rape kit can provide valuable investigative leads that may identify unknown rapists and connect evidence to serial rapists. On average, it costs between $1,200 to $1,500 to test a kit. However, testing kits is not enough. To successfully put rapists behind bars, we must investigate the leads that testing provides and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law. Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy is leading the effort to find the funding to resolve the rape kit crisis in Detroit. An estimated $15 million is needed to test the kits and investigate and prosecute the cases. The challenge is finding the funds and she says, “It’s a massive undertaking.”
The Detroit Crime Commission has partnered with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for the SAF-D Initiative and is acting as the pass-through agency for donations. The DCC is taking no administrative costs for its participation in the SAF-D Initiative.
- Click on the donation icon which will take you to PayPal
- Enter the amount of the donation and payment information
- Confirm your information and proceed to the next screen
- If you would like the funds to be directed towards the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office SAF-D Initiative please select “Add special instructions to the seller” and write “SAF-D Initiative” in the box [?]Please click the PayPal button to make a secure online donation with any credit card:
The Detroit Crime Commission has partnered for the SAF-D Initiative with the Wayne County Prosecutors Office and the Detroit Police Department such that the DCC, using the donated funds, pays the laboratory directly as each kit is processed. This is a 100% pass through program with the DCC taking no administrative costs. 100% of your donations will be used for the program.
Please make check payable to “Detroit Crime Commission” and write “SAF-D Initiative” in the memo to donate to this initiative. Please mail to:
Detroit Crime Commission
1001 Woodward Avenue, Suite 650
Detroit, MI 48226
The Detroit Crime Commission is a tax exempt public charity as defined by Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. You will receive a receipt for income tax purposes in the mail within two weeks.
“Rape is least frequent (or is least frequently reported) in New Jersey. The state with the second-highest rate of reported rape, behind Alaska, is South Dakota, with a rate of 70 per 100,000.”
January 17, 2014 - A 16-year-old boy in Philadelphia was hospitalized after a stop-and-frisk encounter with police led to a brutal sexual assault by police.
Darrin Manning, a black, straight-A student and star basketball player, was walking with his coach and teammates to basketball practice when they were stopped by three white police officers. The officer’s admitted reason for stopping the group was that they were wearing scarves to cover their faces—on one of the coldest evenings ever recorded in Philadelphia.
After the encounter, Manning had to be rushed to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he underwent reconstructive surgery on his genitals. Despite his injuries, the teenager was still charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
An emergency townhall meeting has been announced for Tuesday January 21, where the community will convene to realize a plan for how to respond to the incident.
"We need to pay close attention to what is happening with our kids when they are interacting with police," said Damon Jones, Pastor of Bible Way Baptist Church, to Philly in Focus.
Philadelphia’s use of stop-and-frisk doubled in 2009, although recent legal challenges have compelled the city police department to monitor the intrusiveness of such encounters. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Philadelphians apprehended through the program are still black and Latino men, mirroring the pattern in New York City, another city where police rely heavily on the program.
New NYC major Bill de Blasio ran on a platform of ending Stop and Frisk in the city, although his recent appointment of police chief Bill Bratton, the original architect of the discriminatory program, suggests that he may already be abandoning his campaign promise.
My female friend and I (13 years old) walk around the mall in India in shorts and t-shirts and get cat-called at by men up to twice our age. One touches my butt and attempts to touch my boobs so I slap him. He then tells me it is my fault he felt me up because my clothes were too provocative. Made me feel objectified, hurt, violated.
TW: sexual assault
According to RAINN, several states have statutes of limitation on prosecuting sexual assaults. Some only have limitations on 3rd degree assualt, others have a blanket limit. This means that people like me, who weren’t ready to confront their abuser in time, will rarely see…
(trigger warning for rape)
hey. fuck society.
This is why rape awareness is important. This right here
>:( this is bullshit
And people wonder why victims don’t report it.
I know that at least in the state of Iowa, the Iowa Sexual Abuse Examination Payment Program pays the full cost of these exams, even if nothing is reported to the police. The fund is paid for entirely by fines and penalties paid by convicted criminals.
I am a survivor. Statistically, I know about over 10 people who are survivors - like me. In fact, 1 in 5 people people are survivors. Sexual assault - be it violent, loud, silent, ignored, pursued by police - is very real. And it is not your fault. I have struggled to live a “normal” life but triggers are everywhere and often, it is as if I am reliving my assaults. Flashbacks, triggers, panic attacks - every day reminders. After multiple discussions with other survivors, I’ve decided to compile my own “survival guide”. These are things I did/do to deal with being in this position.
**These are things I did, or advocate others to try. They are suggestions, not facts. I have tried to make it as inclusive as possible. Please feel free to add your own things to this list. Recovering is a process, and there are people who will say they have never recovered. But you can cope and live your life the way you want to. It takes time.
A Guide to Coping:
- Survivors Bill of Rights: Read it and internalize what it is saying to you. These things will often be repeated to you. The one that I used is here but I have found several others online: 1, 2, 3. They’re helpful for when you are feeling completely powerful. This tip will work for those who take a more structured approach to life.
- Suppression: One of your instincts will be to suppress the memories, ignore the fact of what happened. It’s allowed. There is no right or wrong way to feel better, but if ignoring it helps you cope - it’s a start. As long as you know this will come back, it’s ok to put it away for a week or two. It is not the healthiest thing, to put away all your emotions like this but if you actively suppress the memories, you’re actively working on coping. And…it’s a start. But it’ll come back and that is something you need to know. Everyone will not recommend this method, but I know how it works…and it’s going to be your first instinct. And you will probably do it, whether you are aware of it or not.
- Seek Outside Help: You are feeling alone, and you’re feeling down. You need to talk, but fear what friends or family will say or think of you. Perhaps the easiest way to talk about it, for some people, is to bring it to a stranger. If they say something you don’t like, you can always walk away and forget them. www.fcasv.org (or 1-888-956-7273, if you are in the US) is a helpful resource that will help you find a rape crisis program. These programs will find you counseling and other resources. If you have a trusted counselor who already knows you, perhaps they can assist you as well.
- Find a support group. Much like AA, there are groups that are lead by a licensed counselor dedicated to bringing together survivors to discuss coping techniques, and life after their attack.
- Realizations: These are things multiple people will tell you, and they’re true. This was not your fault. It is ok to feel upset, sad, angry. It is ok to cry. It is ok to hit things in rage. It is ok to let yourself have feelings when it comes your attack. Do not compare your assault to another persons. If you think your assault is any less significant then someone else’s assault, you are wrong. Never tell yourself you don’t have the “right” to be this upset - what you went through is very real, and you cannot erase your experiences.
- Community: You are not alone. Google will you help you find many online communities dedicated to helping you. There are chatrooms and other online safe spaces. Tumblr has many survivors who are open about their experiences and willing to help those in need. Perhaps you can confide in them - as someone who has gone through this experience, they can tell you how they began to cope and see if it works for you. Facebook is also home to Grrrlvirus, which is open to female-identified people, which has many people who speak out.
- Find a “mantra”: A mantra is a statement that you repeat over and over again. When I start having a panic attack after being triggered, I repeat the same statement over again. I use it to “bring myself back” to reality, to affirm that I am safe. I’ve gone through a few mantras in my process of healing - starting with “It’s not my fault.” “I am ok.” “I am safe.”
- Channeling your emotions: Sometimes your emotions are too much to handle, and then you need to let them out. Talking is one way, but sometimes you can’t begin to vocalize how you feel. Scream. Cry. Write it out - poetry, blog posts, diaries, journaling, etc. Create artwork - paint splatters, collages, etc. Fight it out - (although I don’t recommend attacking people…) take classes at the gym that force you to use a lot of energy, get a punching bag (or use a pillow). Find small stress relievers (I like to rip things up…that’s a little strange, I’m sorry).
- FIND SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU THAT YOU ARE IN CONTROL.
- Begin Confiding: If there is one person you trust more than anyone, they can be the first person you choose to confide in. Over time, you will share your experience with others and this is a healing process.
- Partners/Relationships: If you are in a relationship when this occurs, or when you feel triggered - you need to let your partner know about certain things. What can they do to make you feel better? What should they avoid doing around you? And listen, it’s ok to put the relationship on hold. You have to come first.
- Religion: If religion if your thing, take comfort in it. My experiences are limited to Roman Catholicism. Mass, or other religious gathering may help you feel safer as they are social gatherings for people to come together and share religion as an experience. Prayers or affirmations can help you feel like you are taking some sort of action with your recovery process - if you find a prayer or affirmation that works for you, feel free to use it as often as possible. Catholics have patron saints for everything - including rape survivors, victims of child abuse. And they all come with their own prayers, as they are supposed to be protectors of these survivors. If you feel like religion is connecting to your triggers or your assault, then get away from it as far as possible.
- “Feeling Dirty”: I recently read about this and it may help someone who is fact driven. It’s common for survivors to feel “dirty” or unclean. Again, it’s allowed. Your body was violated against your will and you don’t know how to fix it. The top layer of your skin sheds about every 4 weeks, meaning that in 4 weeks your skin has not been touched by your attacker. If you feel yourself panicking or feeling unclean, sit own and calculate how many weeks have passed. Your skin, it’s new layer, has never been touched by your attacker.
- If you are worried about triggers, find situations to avoid them until you think you are prepared: Airports are triggering. Any movie rated R will potentially have something triggering. Dramatic TV shows (looking @ you Grey’s Anatomy) will eventually introduce a triggering plot.
- If you feel the need to take precautions, do so. There are products that are concealed weapons, which you can carry on you when you leave your home. Invest in tougher locks on your doors and check them when you feel unsafe. Carry your keys in your hand, with the keys going in between your fingers. Wear thick, heavy rings. Buy thicker curtains. Take a self defense class. If any of this helps you feel safer or in control - then by all means, do so. You are not being paranoid - you are adapting to your new situation as a survivor. Over time, you may relax with these precautions but remember that you are in control of when and how you do this.
- Leave town for a few days. Stay with family. Get away from the city or neighborhood where your assault occurred. It’s a mental health vacation - you need to get away from the negative memories at first.
- Take a day to yourself. Stay in for the day. Sleep in, read a good book, eat all the fast food you want, take bubble bath, stay in your safe space. This is not a long term solution, but it helps if you are feel particularly down.
- If you fear loneliness, seek out company. There is no reason to punish yourself by isolating yourself. If you feel the need to see people, it’s allowed. Call the people you trust the most, or, if you struggle to build trust, hang out with acquaintances in very public, open spaces.
- I don’t know if this works for everyone, but I found that cleaning my apartment (throwing out a LOT of things that cluttered it up). Actually throwing things out made me feel really good. So cleaning. Or redecorating.
- Recreate your safe space.If your room, or your apartment, is where you feel the safest - feel free to redecorate it in a way that makes it feel like a completely new space. One where you can “start over”. This can be hanging up new posters, changing the sheets…anything.
- Invest some time in DIY projects. Or learning new skills. I know this sounds lame and useless, but by creating productivity I found that it helped “bring me back to reality” somewhat.
- Read. I found that taking an activist approach helped me cope…but this was a very long time after my attack. Zines and feminist literature address how we live in a rape culture. They helped me cope because I just like facts and figures, some sort of structure.
- Go to the police if you think it will help you cope. I never went to the police because I have authority issues and terrible experiences with them. But some people believe that it will help them, and if you’re one of them then do so. There are cops who have special training when it comes to sexual assault survivors.
I hope some of this helps…at least one person. You are not ruined because of your experience. You are that much stronger. You are a survivor…you will survive every day. But each day doesn’t need to be a battle. You are not alone. You are not just your survivor status. You are a beautiful human being.
This was very helpful for me. Thank you.
Look at his hands, look at her balance. She’s not daintily placing her foot in the air, she is off-kilter. The placement of his legs and the force he is exerting on her is pulling her off of her feet. Look at his hand on her waist. He’s forcing her hips into that position. Look at her head in the crook of his elbow, he has entire control over the position of her head. Look at the way they kiss, look at his closed fist. This wasn’t a gentle advance with an opportunity for dissent (or consent), this was a woman ripped off of her feet and molested. This is rape culture.
Man, shut the fuck up.
ARE YO ULITERALLY SHITTING ME
yOU SHITTING ME
Actually, you’re very very very wrong. This is a picture of sexual assault that’s been passed around as the pinnacle of romance for well over 60 years. Sexual assault is not romantic and people minimizing sexual assault and actually believing that sexual assault is romantic and isn’t actually assault at all is one of the biggest issues in rape culture. Pay attention.
HOLY SHIT I HAD NO IDEA
Trigger Warning: Talk of sexual assault/rape.
I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living hell’: Teen faces jail time after lashing out on Twitter and naming the boys who sexually assaulted her
17-year-old Savannah Dietrich named and shamed the boys on the social messaging site, writing: ‘There you go, lock me up. I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.’ The Louisville, Kentucky teen told The Courier-Journal she was frustrated by what she feels is a lenient deal for her attackers.
The Mail Online does not normally report the names of sexual assault victims, but Dietrich and her parents say they do not want to shield her identity and want her case to be public. The boys’ attorneys have asked a judge to hold Dietrich in contempt for violating the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing and the judge’s order not to speak about it.
Dietrich told the paper she was assaulted in August 2011 by two boys she knew when she passed out after drinking at a gathering. She learned months later that pictures of the assault were taken and shared with others.
‘For months, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t go out in public places,’ she told the newspaper, as her father and attorneys sat nearby. ‘You just sit there and wonder, who saw (the pictures), who knows?’
Dietrich’s attorneys want her contempt hearing open to the media, arguing she has a First Amendment right to speak about her case and to a public hearing. The boys’ attorneys, however, have asked to keep the hearing closed. The contempt charge carries a possible sentence of 180 days in jail and a $500 fine. The boys pleaded guilty on June 26 to first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism. Dietrich says she was unaware of a plea agreement until just before it was announced in court. She could not say what the proposed punishment was because of the court order, but said she feels like it was a slap on the wrist. The teens are to be sentenced next month, and the judge could reject or modify the terms of the proposed agreement. When Judge Dee McDonald admonished everyone at the hearing not to speak about what happened in court or about the crime, Dietrich said she cried.
‘They got off very easy … and they tell me to be quiet, just silencing me at the end,’ she said.
Afterwards Dietrich tweeted, ‘They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up. ….Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.’
David Marburger, an Ohio media law specialist, said Dietrich should have tried to get the courts to vacate the gag order rather than simply violating it. But Gregg Leslie, interim executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said Dietrich should ‘not be legally barred from talking about what happened to her. That’s a wide-ranging restraint on speech.’ Leslie said this sort of issue is becoming more common.
‘In the past, people would complain to anyone who would listen, but they didn’t have a way to publish their comments where there would be a permanent record, like on Facebook and Twitter, for people to see worldwide,’ he said.
Dietrich said she just needed to stand up for herself. ‘I’m at the point that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it.’
So if the idea of what a rape victim is, is a cis, able bodied, skinny, blonde, white woman then you feel like the word “rape” doesn’t belong to you. that you don’t have a right to that word. because you owe your body & your whole being to everyone else. there’s no way YOU could be raped.