Joyful Heart in the News

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Joyful Heart Groundbreaking Celebrity PSAs Address Myths, Societal Attitudes that Confront Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
March 2, 2016 • Joyful Heart Foundation
By Joyful Heart Foundation
The Joyful Heart Foundation and 1in6 – in partnership with Viacom – today launched a new series of print and broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) that speak to the excuses and societal attitudes that male survivors of sexual abuse are confronted with and direct viewers to resources for help. read more
Ohio tests 10,000 rape kits to clear backlogs, hundreds indicted
February 18, 2016 • Reuters
By Kim Palmer

An effort Ohio launched about five years ago to manage its backlog of rape kits has resulted in more than 10,000 tests to recover physical evidence and led to at least 445 indictments, the state Attorney General's office said on Thursday.

"This is a tremendous milestone," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. "The testing of these 10,000 kits has helped identify hundreds of alleged assailants, many of whom repeatedly committed violent attacks."

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Faced With Staggering Backlogs of Rape Kits, States Change Testing, Investigations
February 17, 2016 • The Pew Charitable Trusts
By Rebecca Beitsch

Seeking to secure justice for thousands of rape victims, about 20 states are moving to test a backlog of unexamined rape kits found in storage rooms in police departments across the country — and change the rules for how rape cases are handled in the future.

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Why One Ohio Court Case Could Be Detrimental for Rape Victims Everywhere
February 8, 2016 • Broadly.
By Lindsay Schrupp
Despite Ohio's extensive initiative to test thousands of previously untested, backlogged rape kits, one Ohio Supreme Court case could affect the ways in which future rape cases are prosecuted. read more
Why an Ohio Supreme Court case involving rape kits is drawing national attention
February 17, 2016 • Cleveland.com
By Rachel Dissel

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland rape case in the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court could result in tougher standards for prosecuting cases reopened after tests on thousands rape kits, some that had been shelved for decades.

State and national victims' advocacy groups are closely watching the case. They've filed legal briefs warning that, if an appeals court decision stands, it could undermine justice for rape survivors and allow serial rapists to evade prosecution.

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Joyful Heart Foundation and Partners File Amicus Brief in Ohio Case That Could Undermine Justice for Rape Survivors
January 20, 2016 • ENDTHEBACKLOG
By Joyful Heart Foundation
We have just filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of Ohio, which is appealing the Ohio Court of Appeals’ decision to use the state’s backlog of untested rape kits in part to dismiss rape and kidnapping charges against an alleged serial rapist. Partners AEquitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource on Violence Against Women, Rape Abuse Incest National Network, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) joined Joyful Heart in the filing. read more
It’s Not a Backlog, It’s a Lack of Concern for Rape Victims
January 15, 2016 • Counterpunch
By Lauren Finley

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. “Rape kit” is the term used to describe the physical evidence obtained from a victim who reports being sexually assaulted. Victims’ bodies are, in essence, the crime scene. They endure what some might describe as a second sexual violation, being scraped, poked and prodded, only out of hope that their perpetrator can eventually be held accountable. And perhaps not rape again, as so many do.

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New Mexico Audit Finds 5,411 Untested Rape Kits
January 7, 2016 • Public News Service

SANTA FE, N.M. – Victims' rights advocates are hoping New Mexico officials take steps during the upcoming legislative session to deal with the state's backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits, or rape kits.

A state audit discovered more than 5,400 kits still sitting in police evidence lockers around the state. 

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No urgency in testing rape kits amounts to no respect for victims
January 5, 2016 • Miami Herald
By Fabiola Santiago

Where’s the urgency, the respect for rape victims?

On Tuesday afternoon, a day after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a report revealing the high number of rape-evidence kits that sit untested for DNA in police storage facilities, the police agency with the highest number of them remained mum.

Still working on trying to get information, a spokesman of the Miami-Dade County Police Department told the Miami Herald.

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Hundreds of sexual assault kits untested in Missouri
January 5, 2016 • KOMU 8
By Emna Nicolas

COLUMBIA – Hundreds of rape and sexual assault kits in Missouri go untested for months or years at a time, while some are never tested at all.

The current state of Missouri’s system to prosecute rapists is failing survivors who made the choice of enduring the four to six-hour examination required to create a kit.

“And they do that with the expectation that the evidence will be used in their case, and that it will be handled appropriately and effectively,” said Ilse Knecht, the Joyful Heart Foundation's policy and advocacy director.

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Miami PD to begin work on state’s largest backlog of untested rape kits
January 4, 2016 • Miami Herald
By David Smiley

An effort to identify and process every untested rape kit in Florida has found that more than 3,700 exist in Miami-Dade County, including 2,243 held by Miami police alone — the most of any law enforcement agency in the state.

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Law & Order: SVU' star and director Mariska Hargitay confronts sexual consent
January 2, 2016 • Inquisitr
By Edward Vkanty

Mariska Hargitay has again been directing episodes of Law & Order: SVU and her most recent efforts aired Wednesday night in the appropriately titled episode, “A Misunderstanding.” The episode was written by Celine C. Robinson, who previously wrote six other episodes for the series, and centers around a young high school couple in a story that involves a he-said, she-said scenario addressing issues related to sexual consent. Hargitay says the episode was daunting to direct, because sexual consent is as murky topic in real American courtrooms as it is in fictional legal dramas.

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Nevada lawmakers allocate funds to test rape kits
December 17, 2015 • Reno Gazette-Journal
By Ken Ritter

LAS VEGAS – Nevada lawmakers have agreed to allocate almost $3.7 million to test 7,500 sexual assault evidence kits languishing in police vaults around the state, including some in Las Vegas dating back 30 years.

State Attorney General Adam Laxalt told the legislature’s Interim Finance Committee on Wednesday the state is just getting started digging through the backlog.

The money includes $1.7 million from a settlement this summer with JPMorgan Chase in a debt collection practices case toward the rape kit effort.

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Congress slated to increase rape kit funding by $45M
December 16, 2015 • USA Today
By Steve Reilly

WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers are positioned to devote $45 million in the 2016 fiscal year to combat the nation’s accumulation of untested sexual assault kits.

The funding, included as part of the omnibus spending bill Congress released Wednesday, is aimed at helping local law enforcement agencies test backlogged sexual assault evidence kits and perform related activities as part of a U.S. Justice Department initiative.

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Greek life tackles sexual assault
December 6, 2015 • The Stanford Daily
By Yael Lederman

In 2011, students from a fraternity at the University of Vermont circulated an email asking members whom they wanted to rape. In 2010, Delta Kappa Epsilon members at Yale paraded around campus chanting what The Yale Daily News would later deem “an active call for sexual violence.”

Greek life has often found itself at the center of the sexual assault discussion nationwide. Although this issue is not isolated to Greek life, media and society often buy into a negative stigma of frequent sexual assault in the Greek community, often painting Greek life in a negative light.

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The story behind the first rape kit
Nov. 21, 2015 • CNN
By Jessica Ravitz
First used in Illinois and then across the country, rape kits are making headlines as hundreds of thousands of them are being discovered backlogged, untested and, in some cases, destroyed. read more
Law & Order crime show battles rape myths: study
Nov. 19, 2015 • The Star
By Peter Edwards
TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit may help educate television viewers about rape and importance of sexual consent, study suggests. read more
Christina Aguilera supports HopeLine's domestic violence prevention initiative
Nov. 14, 2015 • examiner.com
By Shaina Moskowitz
"For me it was a no-brainer, and if anything, a must for what’s close to my heart," Aguilera said. read more
This is why thousands of Minnesota rape kits go untested
Nov. 13, 2015 • St. Paul Pioneer Press
By Elizabeth Mohr

The numbers might seem alarming: more than 3,000 rape kits sitting on shelves, untested, at law enforcement agencies across the state. And for more than 9 percent of those cases, the reason for not testing is "unknown."

But police are quick to explain that a reasonable explanation often exists for not testing evidence collected after a sex assault is reported: Sometimes victims do not want to move forward with a case. Sometimes the suspect's identity is not in question. Sometimes prosecutors decline to file charges.

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