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Shelved PSA Spotlights the Rape Kit Backlog
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.
Shelved was developed by Invisible Man, founded by Rachel Howald, creative director of Joyful Heart’s successful NO MORE PSA campaign. It was created in partnership with Viacom Velocity and directed by famed filmmaker and cinematographer Ellen Kuras, who is best known for her work on the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The spots are being distributed pro bono by Boom Broadcast & Media Relations, and they will air on Viacom’s networks and the Investigation Discovery channel.
We are deeply grateful to all of our partners on this project, which would not be possible without their generosity, their time, their talents, their dedication, and their commitment to Joyful Heart’s mission and vision.
Trigger warning: This video explicitly mentions rape and may be difficult for some viewers to watch.
Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. When a person is sexually assaulted, and chooses to undergo the invasive four-to-six hour evidence collection examination at the hospital, they expect the kit will be tested and the evidence used to prosecute the attacker. The public expects the same.
The DNA evidence contained in rape kits is a powerful tool to solve and prevent crime. Rape kit evidence can identify an unknown assailant, link crimes together, and identify serial rapists. Yet hundreds of thousands of times, a decision is made not to test the evidence. This leaves crimes unsolved and violent offenders on the streets.
We should all be shocked by this backlog. There are hundreds of thousands of kits. Untested. For years, many for more than a decade. Behind each of those kits is a person—a sexual assault survivor—waiting for justice.
Survivors deserve better. We all deserve better.
At Joyful Heart, we have a clear, ambitious goal: to end the backlog of untested rape kits across the United States and prevent it from ever happening again.
In this moment of reckoning, we are working each and every day around the country to eliminate the backlog and change the way rape kits are handled. Together, we can—we will—fix this problem. With your help, we can end the backlog and bring long-awaited justice to survivors.
The goal of our campaign is to ensure all sexual assault survivors receive justice and perpetrators are held accountable. By donating today, you can help end the backlog and send a message to survivors that they and their cases matter.