Full Media Archive

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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
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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Michael Stars launches limited T-shirts
• The Beach Reporter
By The Beach Reporter
Michael Stars is teaming up with actress Mariska Hargitay and Joyful Heart Foundation to introduce an updated capsule collection of limited-edition tees and tanks that launched nationwide last week. read more
California to propose an end to statute of limitations in rape cases
Nov. 10, 2015 • Al Jazeera
By Marisa Taylor
At least 16 states have no statute of limitations for rape cases in face of rape kit backlog, delays in reporting crimes. read more
Untested rape kits in Idaho raise concerns
November 9, 2016 • The Salt Lake Tribune
By The Associated Press
Police chief Chris Allgood says he doesn’t want to put DNA into database if crime not committed. read more
Some advocates believe rape kit testing should not be left to law enforcement’s discretion
Nov. 9, 2015 • Idaho Press-Tribune
By 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
The War on Drugs Could Be Making Our Communities More Dangerous
November 8, 2015 • Vice News
By 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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Celebrities Answer Phones for Charity Trades
February 18, 2016 • Look to the Stars
Bloomberg Tradebook’s fourth annual Charity Day took place on November 4, and this year it was bigger and more global than ever. read more
Rutgers says 'no more' to sexual violence, domestic abuse
November 3, 2015 • The Daily Targum
By 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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Giants set new tone for NFL inclusion
October 31, 2015 • espnW
By Jane McManus

Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich has become used to discussing deeply personal subjects, be it his own cancer or discovering that his wife, Danielle, had experienced domestic violence. Last week, Herzlich was one of four NFL players featured in a new series of ads from Joyful Heart and No More, the umbrella organization raising awareness about domestic violence.

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12 celebrities who use their fame for good
October 30, 2015 • TriplePundit
By Mary Mazzoni

Most of us know Mariska Hargitay for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on the long-running television hit, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” But what went on behind the scenes may come as a surprise.

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Thompson: A rape survivor opens up
October 29, 2016 • The Detroit News
By 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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9 celebrities who’ve been touched by domestic violence
October 26, 2015 • Everyday Health
By Sara Altshul

Though she hasn’t personally experienced domestic violence, in her iconic role as Detective Olivia Benson on the long-running TV drama, Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay has lived, breathed — and solved — unspeakable crimes against women and children for the past 16 years. Her role has clearly gotten under her skin. In 2004, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization that has served more than 14,000 survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and the professionals who help them.

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New York Giants: What you're missing in Cowboys game
October 25, 2015 • Fansided
By 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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New York Giants join My Sisters' Place to help end domestic violence
October 25, 2016 • White Plains Daily Voice
By Nicole Briggs
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – During Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants joined with longtime partner My Sisters’ Place and the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress, producer, director and advocate Mariska Hargitay, to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month. read more
In a man's game, Mark Herzlich is standing up for women
October 24, 2015 • The New York Times
By Bill Pennington

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich grew up in locker rooms, from peewee football to the N.F.L.

“It’s a very unusual work environment — a small space and 100 percent male,” Herzlich said.

Locker to locker, the setting is marinated in machismo, with a lineup of employees celebrated for their toughness.

“We play a rough game on TV,” Herzlich said. “People see us and say: ‘Man, look at that dude. That’s a guy right there.’ ”

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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
Staffers From The Center In Stamford Talk At Sexual Assault Symposium
September 25, 2015 • Stamford Daily Voice
By Tom Renner
STAMFORD, Conn. -- Jessica Buchanan and Charlotte Poth of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education, located in Stamford, joined the national conversation on sexual assault prevention education at The Fearless Conference: An Innovative Symposium on Sexual Assault held on Sept. 18 in New York City. read more

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