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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Star-Studded PSAs Say No More To Domestic Violence
July 10, 2014 • Look to the Stars
By Look to the Stars
Viacom Velocity Creative has partnered with Mariska Hargitay, founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, to create a star-studded NO MORE PSA Campaign. read more
VH1's Nick Lachey Joins NO MORE To End Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault
June 30, 2014 • VH1
By Christopher Rosa
VH1 is sick of the silence, excuses, stigma and victim-blaming that comes with domestic violence and sexual assault cases. That’s why we are joining forces with NO MORE, a campaign dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault for good. read more
Senate Delay Threatens Funding for Thousands of Untested Rape
June 23, 2014 • Autostraddle
By Kaitlyn
It’s a problem of unknown magnitude — recent estimates place the numbersomewhere around 100,000 — but the consequences of the nationwide rape kit testing backlog are clear and appalling. read more
Exclusive: USA to Air SVU Marathon Featuring New Video From Chris Meloni
June 19, 2014 • TV Guide
By Kate Stanhope
USA will air a second Law & Order: SVU "No More Excuses" marathon this month, this time with the help of former star Christopher Meloni, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively. Throughout the marathon, viewers will be encouraged to seek out additional information online, or to call national help hotlines to speak with counselors and advocates. read more
Mariska Hargitay on Her Most Challenging ‘L&O: SVU’ Season Yet: Even a Bad-Ass Can Be a Victim
June 19, 2014 • The Wrap
By Sharon Waxman
Hargitay talks with The Wrap about motherhood, growing up in Hollywood and how Det. Benson has turned her into an avenging angel off-screen. read more
Viacom and Joyful Heart Foundation Partner For ‘No More’ Domestic Violence PSAs
May 29, 2014 • The Variety
By Laura Prudom
Viacom has partnered with Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation for a new series of PSAs aimed to raise awareness for the NO MORE movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault. read more
Rape survivors face resistance in fight to test rape kit backlog
May 29, 2014 • MSNBC
By Meredith Clark
After San Francisco resident Heather Marlowe was drugged and raped at the city’s annual Bay to Breakers race in May 2010, she trusted local police to process her rape kit–the evidence collected during a forensic exam–and update her if any leads turned up. When they didn’t call for more than a year, she began researching why. read more
Joyful Heart Foundation and Viacom Ring The NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell to Say NO MORE to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
May 16, 2014 • The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch
By Global Newswire
Viacom and the Joyful Heart Foundation will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square in support of NO MORE. read more
USA Network’s ‘SVU: No More Excuses’ Marathon a Social and Ratings Success
April 30, 2014 • Lost Remote
By Adam Flomenbaum
The night proved to be a big success, both ratings-wise and across social media. The episodes that aired between 7-11pm delivered double-digit ratings increases across the board with an average of 2.6M total viewers. The hashtags #sayNOMORE, #NOMORE and #NOMOREexcuses trended nationally. read more
Exclusive: USA, Mariska Hargitay Team Up for an SVU Marathon with a Cause
April 23, 2014 • TV Guide
By Kate Stanhope
To commemorate National Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention month, and in partnership with Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation and the NO MORE campaign, USA will air a special 16-hour SVU "No More Excuses" marathon hosted by Hargitay and her SVU co-stars. read more
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