Joyful Heart in the News

DETROIT (AP) — Actress Mariska Hargitay, who portrays a police detective on television, on Monday pledged her support for a real-life crime-fighting effort: quicker testing for a backlog of thousands of rape kits in the Detroit area and across Michigan.

Hargitay, a star of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in announcing legislation at the state level aimed at stopping serial rapists by better identifying and arresting suspects in sexual assault Photography by Monica Morgan Photographycases through the testing.

For the past few years, Worthy's office has been slowly wading through sexual assault kits recovered in 2009 from a Detroit police storage facility. They contain DNA and other evidence from rape cases, but a majority of the 11,000 kits never were tested in a lab.

Hundreds of thousands of kits are believed to sit untested in police departments across the country.

Testing can bring justice to rape victims, said Hargitay, founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which works with victims of sexual abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

The organization has taken on the rape kit backlog issue because the lack of prompt testing "is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes in our country," she said.

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Being Raped In A Bankrupt City
March 27, 2014 • BuzzFeed
By Emily Orley
Wayne County, Mich., the region where Detroit is located, has been riddled with problems for decades. But when a massive backlog of rape kits was discovered, a few mighty voices decided to work on changing the way sexual assault is viewed and how victims are treated, while also opening every single kit. read more
There Are 400,000 Unprocessed Rape Kits in the U.S. How Can This Be?
March 12, 2014 • Slate
By Katy Waldman
Last week, Vice President Joe Biden announced a White House proposal to pour $35 million into testing backlogged rape kits and bringing sex offenders to justice. read more
Detective Olivia Benson on the Case: Mariska Hargitay’s Emotional Plea to Get Backlogged Rape Kits Tested
March 12, 2014 • Time
By Charlotte Alter
The Law & Order: SVU star teared up when she discussed the immense backlog of untested rape kits. read more
Did Mariska Hargitay Help Catch A Real-Life Rapist?
March 11, 2014 • Huffington Post
By Erin Whitney
It's no news that "Law & Order: SVU" star Mariska Hargitay fights for survivors of sexual assault in real life. The Joyful Heart Foundation, which she founded to help put an end to sexual and domestic violence, has recently helped the city of Detroit obtain funds to process a backlog of nearly 11,000 untested rape kits. read more
Actress Hargitay, Prosecutor Worthy discuss rape kit project
March 10, 2014 • My Fox Detroit
By Associated Press
Actress Mariska Hargitay joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing. read more
Actress Mariska Hargitay Joins Kym Worthy In Push For Rape Kit Testing
March 10, 2014 • CBS News
By CBS News
An award-winning actress is joining forces with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in her push for legislation and funding to clear a backlog of 11,000 untested rape kits in Detroit. read more
'Law & Order: SVU' actress Mariska Hargitay decries delay in rape kit testing
March 10, 2014 • Detroit Free Press
By Paul Egan and Gina Damron
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Monday enlisted some star power in her push for funding and legislation to help clear a backlog of thousands of untested Detroit rape kits. read more
Mariska Hargitay to Produce Documentary on Rape Kit Backlog (Exclusive)
March 10, 2014 • The Hollywood Reporter
By Lesley Goldberg
The "Law & Order: SVU" star's Joyful Heart Foundation will serve as a beneficiary of the film. read more
Kym Worthy: Testing small portion of Detroit's 11,000-plus rape kit backlog identified 100 serial rapists
March 10, 2014 • MLive
By Gus Burns
Prosecutor Kym Worthy speaks at a press conference at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice about the 11,000 untested rape kits in the county waiting testing and investigation, Monday, March 10, 2014. Worthy was joined by actress and Joyful Heart Foundation founder Mariska Hargitay to talk about Detroit's progress in testing and getting justice for survivors of sexual assault. read more
Mariska Hargitay Says Thank You For Funding Rape Kit Backlog
March 6, 2014 • Ecorazzi
By Maria Mooney
ENDTHEBACKLOG is a part of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s initiative to end the injustice of untested rape kits, and its efforts have not gone unnoticed. read more
States fight rape kit backlog
February 25, 2014 • MSNBC
By Erin Delmore
States across the country are proposing and enacting legislation to tackle the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. read more
Ending the Rape Kit Backlog
February 21, 2014 • Women's Media Center
By Marcia G. Yerman
The White House Council on Women and Girls released a report in January entitled “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action.” read more
Guest column: End to rape kit backlog will serve healing
February 17, 2014 • The Commercial Appeal
By Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Sarah Tofte
Last week we stood together as Memphis made a public commitment to address and eliminate the city’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits. read more
Memphis has largest backlog of untested rape kits in US
February 12, 2014 • WLOX 13
By Kontji Anthony
Memphis has the largest known number of untested rape kits in the country. It is why the City of Memphis held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce several developments regarding the city's rape kit backlog. read more
Mariska Hargitay talks 'SVU'
February 4, 2014 • CBS News
By The Talk
Mariska Hargitay discusses how her role on 'Law and Order: SVU' influenced her decision to found the Joyful Heart Foundation, and shaped the mission to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. read more
5 ways to help end rape in Alaska
February 4, 2014 • CNN Opinion
By John D. Sutter
Join organizations in Alaska in their efforts to help to make it a safer place. read more
Rape Kit Testing Still Languishes
January 21, 2014 • The Chicago Tribune
By Kay Manning
Test400K joins Natasha's Justice Project and the Joyful Heart Foundation in trying to change how law enforcement and society in general view sexual assault. read more
The View Interviews Mariska Hargitay
January 15, 2014 • The View
By The View
Mariska Hargitay discusses her Emmy Award winning role on 'Law & Order: SVU' and her charitable foundation. read more
Mariska Hargitay dishes on "Law & Order: SVU"; Joyful Heart Foundation
January 8, 2014 • Today Show
By Today Show
The actress chatted about the drama as it enters the second half of its 15th season tonight. She also talked about her Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. "If you talk about it, that’s how you get rid of it," she said. read more