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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Rape Kit Testing Law Passes, Heads to Ohio Governor’s Desk
Dec. 19, 2014 • RH Reality Check
By Nina Liss-Schultz
The Ohio house passed a bill Wednesday meant to completely clear a backlog of untested rape kits in law enforcement offices across the state. read more
'NO MORE' Outtakes: Stars at a Loss for Words
Dec. 19, 2014 • Access Hollywood
By Access Hollywood Live
The heartfelt moments that make up the new "Speechless" videos in the NO MORE PSA campaign were featured on Access Hollywood. read more
SVU’s Mariska Hargitay Says NO MORE to Rape and Domestic Violence
Dec. 19, 2014 • The Washington Post
By Diana Reese
If you’ve ever watched even one episode of “SVU,” you can understand why Hargitay, who’s won both Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her portrayal of Det. Benson, has turned activist for the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Her latest effort, aimed “at getting the conversation started” about these issues that often “are swept under the carpet,” ironically relies on silence and raw emotion rather than on cleverly scripted words. read more
Celebrities Including Hilary Swank and Mariska Hargitay are Rendered 'Speechless' with Emotion in New PSA to Raise Awareness about Domestic Violence
Dec. 17, 2014 • Daily Mail UK
By Erin Clements
The campaign, which also stars Tim Gunn, Jemima Kirke, Mary J Blige and other famous faces, was launched by the organization NO MORE. The videos feature outtakes from No More's previous campaign, and are completely unscripted.  read more
Outtakes From the 'No More' Campaign Are More Powerful Than the Original PSAs: Y&R's 'Speechless' Series
Dec. 15, 2014 • Adweek
By Andrew McMains
Sometimes, it's the unexpected things that happen on a commercial set that send the most powerful message of all. Case in point: the Joyful Heart Foundation's "No More" campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. read more
Congress Poised To Dedicate $41 Million To Help End Backlog of Rape Kits
Dec. 11, 2014 • CBS New York
By CBS NY Staff
“It’s a huge deal,” said Sarah Tofte, vice president of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation, which is pushing for ending the rape kit backlog. read more
Spending Bill Includes $41 Million to Help Rape Victims
Dec. 12, 2014 • ABC 2 WMAR Baltimore
By WMAR Staff
Lawmakers have allocated $41 million to help rape victims as part of the $1.1 trillion spending plan approved by Congress Thursday night. read more
NFL STARS AND ACTORS ARE RENDERED "SPEECHLESS" BY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THESE POWERFUL PSAS
Dec. 12, 2014 • Fast Company
By Jennifer Miller
Some subjects are so painful, it's hard to find the words to talk about them. read more
San Francisco Police Make Progress on Backlog of Untested Rape Kits
Dec. 12, 2014 • CBS San Francisco
By CBS San Francisco Staff
The San Francisco Police Department announced this week that it has cleared a backlog of sexual assault kits dating back more than 10 years. read more
No Words: Boosted by NFL Controversy, Anti-Abuse Group Readies New Ads
Dec. 10, 2014 • AdAge
By Jack Neff
Unscripted Ads Use Emotional Outtakes From Shoots; Will Super Bowl Follow? read more
Money to Address Rape Kit Backlog in Congressional Spending Bill
Dec. 10, 2014 • BuzzFeed
By Alison Vingiano
Advocates praised the inclusion of $41 million to handle thousands of untested rape kits. read more
Mariska Hargitay Directs New 'No More' PSAs on Domestic Violence
Dec. 10, 2014 • ABC News
By Luchina Fisher
"There was no one who didn't have a particular line resonate so deeply that they had to take a moment to gather themselves," Hargitay, who directed the spots and whose Joyful Heart Foundation produced them, told ABC News. read more
National Rape Kit Backlog Gets a $35 Million Boost
Dec. 9, 2014 • Epoch Times
By Genevieve Belmaker
The massive national backlog of rape kits is being targeted by Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr. According to Vance, there is a backlog of “hundreds of thousands of rape kits” across the country in police warehouses. read more
The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Me&Ro and the Joyful Heart Foundation's 'NO MORE' Pendant
Dec. 8, 2014 • Forbes
By Barry Samaha
In collaboration with The Joyful Heart Foundation, Me&Ro has created the “NO MORE” pendant to support the mission to end domestic violence and assault. read more
The NFL's response to domestic violence and sexual assault
Dec. 5, 2014 • NFL.COM
By NFL.COM
When faced with these issues in the summer of 2014, it quickly became clear that the NFL needed to know and do more. read more
#RocksMyWorld: Mariska Hargitay and Me & Ro Team Up to Make New Jewelry for the Joyful Heart Foundation
Nov. 27, 2014 • InStyle
By Marion Fasel

Gifts that also contribute to charity make great presents during the holiday season. The “No More” pendant Me & Ro designer Robin Renzi created with Mariska Hargitay for her Joyful Heart Foundation is not only the kind of jewel you put on and never take off, it also benefits a good cause. “This Me & Ro necklace is a beautiful way to show—and kindle in others—the commitment to ending sexual assault and domestic violence,” Hargitay says.

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PSAs Capture Football Players’ Reactions to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault
Nov. 26, 2014 • The Washington Post
By Diana Reese
Sometimes there just aren’t any words. read more
SPD Leaves most Rape Kit Evidence on the Shelf
Nov. 25, 2014 • King 5 News
By Linda Byron
The Seattle Police Department's records show that in a little over a decade, 1,641 rape kits were booked into evidence. But only 365 of kits were tested, just 22% of the total. read more
Rape Kit Contribution Should Spur Congressional Action
Nov. 16, 2014 • The Washington Post
By Editorial Board
Under the program announced in New York, $35 million in civil forfeiture assets will be made available to localities and states across the country to test some 70,000 rape kits, which are a collection of physical evidence painstakingly taken from victims of sexual assault. read more