Media Archive by Year: 2015

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More than 40 police agencies to get $79M to test rape kits
September 11, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly and Charisse Jones
A USA TODAY/TEGNA joint investigation finds thousands of untested rape kits sitting in police department evidence rooms across the country. Rape victims, politicians and police are speaking out, hoping to change that. read more
Nearly $80 Million Will Be Used to Finally Test Thousands of Rape Kits
September 10, 2015 • Jezebel
Anna Merlin

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch were in New York Thursday to announce that the White House has awarded $41 million in new rape kit testing grants to police departments across the country, added to the $38 million in grant money that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance already contributed. That $79 million will be used to test 70,000 backlogged rape kits across the country. Finally.

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Neiman Marcus Links With Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation
September 2, 2014 • WWD
Lisa Lockwood

ODE TO JOY: Neiman Marcus teamed up with the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for its 10th anniversary celebration. Neiman’s presented The NO MORE Lounge at Joyful Heart’s bi-annual Joyful Mele gala Sunday night in Hawaii, where Hargitay started the foundation. Neiman’s also sponsord Joyful Mele.

The event raised more than $500,000, all of which will be reinvested to support Joyful Heart’s work in Hawaii.

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Nevada lawmakers allocate funds to test rape kits
December 17, 2015 • Reno Gazette-Journal
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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New national funding will clear Utah’s backlog of untested rape kits
September 10, 2015 • The Salt Lake Tribune
The Associated Press
White House, NYC prosecutor pledge $79M to test the kits nationwide. read more
New York Giants: What you're missing in Cowboys game
October 25, 2015 • Fansided
Nafisa H

Oh, it’s on! The New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys today in what will surely be an interesting showdown. With first place in the NFC East division on the line, the Giants are looking to even their 2015 series against their biggest rivals and bounce back from a dismal performance in Philadelphia Monday night. 

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NFL players commemorate National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in upcoming "SVU" marathon
10/23/2015 • The Futon Critic
The new interstitial campaign features Mariska Hargitay and NFL stars encouraging everyone to "get off the sidelines" to help stop domestic violence and sexual assault. read more
NO MORE Releases Chilling Domestic Violence Super Bowl Ad
January 29, 2015 • MSNBC
Tamron Hall
The co-founder of “No more” joins Tamron Hall with a look at the campaign’s chilling new Super Bowl commercial about domestic violence. Plus, they discuss a series of PSA’s featuring current NFL players. read more
Q&A with Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order actress, and creator of Joyful Heart Foundation
April 1, 2015 • Fempower
Melissa Seymour

Melissa Seymour: Hi, Mariska! Thanks so much for speaking with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Mariska Hargitay: I’m an actress an activist, and a mom of three.  I’ve played Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the past 16 years. I’ve also taken my turn behind the camera, directing the groundbreaking NO MORE PSAs and a number of episodes of Law & Order: SVU.  I am also the Founder and President of the Joyful Heart Foundation.

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Rape, suspended in time
September 7, 2015 • Las Vegas Sun
Megan Messerly
Hoping to bring closure to victims, Las Vegas fighting to analyze thousands of backlogged rape kits that have been in storage for decades. read more
Rutgers says 'no more' to sexual violence, domestic abuse
November 3, 2015 • The Daily Targum
Natasha Tripathi

Two weeks ago on Oct. 1, Jake Comito gathered about 60 blue 3-by-2-foot poster boards with “NO MORE” printed at the top to Quad Circle on Livingston campus, where students were walking through and asked what the boards were all about.

The Rutgers Business School junior and resident assistant would then explain that he and a few close friends have taken the initiative to align with the Joyful Heart Foundation’s campaign against sexual violence and domestic abuse, "NO MORE."

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Salida roller derby athletes tackling cross-country fundraising skate
April 28, 2015 • The Denver Post
Jason Blevins

Kim Bouldin sounds lost.

"What day is this? I've lost track. I think we are on day 20," she says, her voice lost in the growl of a passing truck.

She's at a roadside convenience store just outside Biloxi, Miss.

The days are a blur. Roller skating 700 miles on rough roads over three weeks does strange things to your mind and body, says the mother and wife from Salida.

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Some advocates believe rape kit testing should not be left to law enforcement’s discretion
Nov. 9, 2015 • Idaho Press-Tribune
Ruth Brown
Advocates, legislators and law enforcement discuss current rape kit testing laws and what, if anything, should be done to change them. read more
State Attorney's Office receives $2 million federal grant to clear rape test-kit backlog
September 10, 2015 • jacksonville.com
Derek Gilliam
State Attorney Angela Corey announced Thursday afternoon that her office has received nearly $2 million in a federal grant to eliminate the about 1,300 sexual-assault test kits sitting on evidence shelves at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. read more
States on Skates and Joyful Heart Foundation
April 8, 2015 • Click Orlando
Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights
Sarah Haacke Byrd
Statement for the record for Sarah Haacke Byrd, Managing Director for the Joyful Heart Foundation before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. read more
Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA
July 16, 2015 • USA Today
Steve Reilly
A nationwide count by USA TODAY reveals abandoned rape kit evidence. read more
The risk we take with Charlotte’s rape kit backlog
June 29, 2015 • The Charlotte Observer
Maile M. Zambuto
From Maile M. Zambuto, Chief Executive Officer of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Monika Johnson Hostler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, read more
The story behind the first rape kit
Nov. 21, 2015 • CNN
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
The War on Drugs Could Be Making Our Communities More Dangerous
November 8, 2015 • Vice News
Justin Glawe

When 11 corpses were discovered in and around the Cleveland home of Anthony Sowell in the fall of 2009, there were some 4,000 untested rape kits being neglected by local cops. The deranged rapist and murderer was stopped, but his case exposed the stunning mishandling of missing persons and sexual assault cases in the city,  a problem advocates argue has festered nationwide as the war on drugs has sucked up public safety dollars that might otherwise have gone toward putting rapists and killers behind bars.

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They Put A Celebrity On Camera And Asked Her To Talk About A Rough Topic. She Only Got 2 Words Out.
Jan. 20, 2015 • Upworthy
Laura Willard
She's totally speechless, and how can you blame her? read more
This is why thousands of Minnesota rape kits go untested
Nov. 13, 2015 • St. Paul Pioneer Press
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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Thompson: A rape survivor opens up
October 29, 2016 • The Detroit News
Bankole Thompson

Detroiter Ardelia Ali was only 18 when she encountered the worst kind of sexual violence and trauma any woman could undergo. After the end of a day’s shift at Burger King, she was walking to catch a bus near Hoyt and Seven Mile on the evening of Nov. 18, 1995, when she felt a knife on her back. Forced to a nearby vacant land, she was raped.

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We’re Letting Untested Rape Kits Languish In Warehouses And It Has Huge Consequences
May 21, 2015 • Think Progress
TARA CULP-RESSLER

Despite more than a billion dollars in public funding dedicated to helping law enforcement officials test the DNA evidence collected in rape kits, there’s still a huge backlog of untested kits collecting dust in storage facilities across the country, according to advocates who testified at a Senate committee hearing this week.

Because DNA evidence is collected on a local level, we have no idea exactly how many rape kits are languishing unopened in massive warehouses. Advocacy groups in the field believe that the total number is in the hundreds of thousands.

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White House, NYC prosecutor pledge $79 million to test rape kits
September 10, 2015 • Al Jazeera
Funding will go toward DNA testing on an estimated 70,000 rape kits, which are often backlogged because of expense. read more

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