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Pressure is building for California lawmakers to end the backlog of untested rape kits, following the arrest this week of the suspected East Area Rapist.
Law enforcement officials said a major break leading to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo was made possible, in large part, by DNA evidence tied to old crimes carried out by the suspected rapist and killer.
After years starring in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay is now highlighting the subject matter in a new way by producing I AM EVIDENCE, a sobering and timely look at the way rape kits have been left to languish, a policy decision with the ghastly effect of enabling serial perpetrators to continue assaulting women.
The HBO documentary ‘I am Evidence,’ produced by actress Mariska Hargitay, follows women who reported sexual assaults and provided DNA evidence but discovered it was never tested.
There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits currently sitting in police storage across the country. So, how did we get here?
That’s the question actress and activist Mariska Hargitay answers in her new HBO documentary “I Am Evidence,” set to air April 16. The film, co-produced by the “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star and Trish Adlesic, and co-directed by Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, takes a human approach to an epidemic that has reduced survivors, their stories and their trauma to a box of evidence.
Texas Chief Investigator and Sexual Assault Investigation Trainer, Wayne Springer, says an officer’s job is to collect and send the facts, not pass judgment. “This is the only crime you'll ever see that the victim becomes the accused almost instantly,” Springer explains.
Joyful Heart launched today a new national PSA campaign, Shelved, to raise awareness about the untested rape kit backlog and engage the public in helping us solve this problem. Through this campaign, we are seeking to activate grassroots support for our work in state capitols around the country to change the way rape kits are handled, expand survivors’ rights, and ensure every single kit is tested. Every single kit, in every state.
Hope. Joy. Possibility. We were founded on these values and in 2017, they are at the heart of everything we do.
The volume on the conversation about sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse is up and getting louder every day as all eyes, ears, and hearts are turned toward these issues. The collective voices of survivors are powerful, strong, and undeniable. We are surrounded by meaningful change. And we aren’t going back.
It’s been an extraordinary year for our work at Joyful Heart.
In June 2017, Texas became the first state in the nation to enact all of Joyful Heart’s six legislative pillars of comprehensive rape kit reform. We asked Ilse Knecht, Joyful Heart’s Director of Policy & Advocacy, what this legislative victory means for our work. Watch a video of her conversation with Christine Show, Digital Platforms Manager.