Media Archive by Year: 2016

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A disturbing trend: evidence in rape cases often goes untested
August 2016 • Seattle Mag
Elaine Porterfield
The backlog of untested rape kits goes back years, and it's hindering the justice process. read more
Advocates praise senate bill on sexual assault victims’ rights
may 24, 2016 • The New York Times
Emmarie Huetteman

WASHINGTON — Advocates for victims of sexual assault on Tuesday praised the Senate’s unanimous approval of a bill that would establish a set of rights for victims, including the right to be informed of the results of forensic tests and to have evidence preserved.

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An Incomprehensible Failure
September 20, 2016 • The Huffington Post
Sarah Haacke Byrd

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice released its much-anticipated report about policing practices in Baltimore, Maryland. Included in their examination is scathing evidence that victims of sexual assault in the city are denied equal and full access to the law.

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Every rape kit booked into evidence in Hawaii should be tested by police
April 12, 2016 • Huffpost Hawaii
Kata Issari & Natasha Alexenko

In 1993, Natasha was raped and robbed at gunpoint by an unknown assailant in New York City. She went to the hospital, where a medical forensic exam was done but the rape kit containing evidence from the assault sat in the police department’s evidence room for nine years. 

Natasha’s attacker was identified in 2007 when DNA from the rapist was matched to the evidence from her assault. In the years that he was out on the streets after Natasha’s rape, Victor Rondon went on a cross-country crime spree.

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Faced With Staggering Backlogs of Rape Kits, States Change Testing, Investigations
February 17, 2016 • The Pew Charitable Trusts
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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Feds Kick In $38M More to Fight Rape-Kit Backlog
September 21, 2016 • Courthouse News Service
Nick Divito

Two years after shocking revelations about 70,000 rape kits that went unprocessed across the country for decades, the United States committed another $38 million on Monday to expand testing.

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Hundreds of sexual assault kits untested in Missouri
January 5, 2016 • KOMU 8
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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Inside the national effort to combat the rape kit backlog – and how Detroit Is leading the fight
June 9, 2016 • People
Diana Pearl

After Natasha Alexenko was raped and robbed at gunpoint in New York City in 1993, her first instinct was to try to wash the experience off her.

"It was an ordeal that changed my life forever," she says. "And your first instinct after you've been assaulted – at least mine – was to take a hot shower."  

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It’s Not a Backlog, It’s a Lack of Concern for Rape Victims
January 15, 2016 • Counterpunch
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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Jane Doe No More to Honor Actress Mariska Hargitay and the Joyful Heart Foundation with Dr. Henry C. Lee Award
March 8, 2016 • Naugatuck Patch

Jane Doe No More, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and improving the way society responds to victims of sexual violence, is proud to announce Mariska Hargitay, star of the NBC hit drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) and the Joyful Heart Foundation along with Attorney James G. Clark and the Victim Rights Center of Connecticut will be honored at the Jane Doe No More Dr. Henry C. Lee Award & Recognition dinner with the 7th annual Dr. Henry C. Lee Award on Friday, March 18, 2016.

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Joe Biden Honored by Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation for Efforts to End Domestic Violence
may 12, 2016 • Us Weekly
Anna Chan
Worthy of recognition! Vice President Joe Biden was honored at the Joyful Heart Foundation’s annual star-studded Joyful Revolution Gala on Tuesday, May 10, in New York City. read more
Joe Biden: We need to stop this culture of rape jokes and 'locker room banter'
June 14, 2016 • MSN
Rachel Revesz

The phrase “rule of thumb” comes from the 1300s, when courts ruled that men could no longer beat their wives with a rod of a larger circumference than their thumb.

It was a powerful metaphor from US vice president Joe Biden to illustrate the gender inequality that continues today.

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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
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
Joyful Heart Foundation brings awareness to domestic violence and sexual abuse
June 5, 2016 • Hawaii News Now
HNN Staff
In Hawaii, one in seven women is sexually assaulted, according to advocates for victims. read more
Joyful Heart Foundation Releases First-of-its-Kind Study on Victim Notification as Part of Work to End the Rape Kit Backlog
April 8, 2016 • My Social Good News
Api Poder

NEW YORK – Today, the Joyful Heart Foundation released Navigating Notification: A Guide to Re-engaging Sexual Assault Survivors Affected by the Untested Rape Kit Backlog. This groundbreaking report will help jurisdictions working to eliminate their backlogs of untested rape kits to create survivor-centered, trauma-informed policies and protocols for victim notification.

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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
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
Key legislators approve amended version of bill to test rape kits
April 30, 2016 • Honolulu Star Advertiser
Sophie Cocke

Hawaii’s police departments will likely be required to take action on hundreds of rape kits that have sat in storage facilities for years, as well as new rape kits, after key lawmakers Friday agreed to an amended version of House Bill 1907.

The bill gained traction after the Honolulu Police Department revealed in February that it had 1,500 untested kits that contain forensic evidence from rape victims. The untested kits, which could help solve crimes and catch serial rapists, date back more than a decade.

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Law & Order: SVU' star and director Mariska Hargitay confronts sexual consent
January 2, 2016 • Inquisitr
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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Mariska Hargitay directs powerful new PSA supporting male sexual abuse survivors
March 3, 2016 • Today Pop Culture
Sarah Epstein

Mariska Hargitay is taking a page from her "Law and Order: SVU" character, Olivia Benson, and fighting to raise awareness about male survivors of sexual abuse.

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Mariska Hargitay of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ talks untested rape kit backlog
June 22, 2016 • Hidden Remote
Anne Goetz
‘Law & Order: SVU’s’ Mariska Hargitay addresses the United State of Women Summit at the White House. read more
Mariska Hargitay says this issue hasn't changed in the 18 years she's been on SVU
September 14, 2016 • Refinery29
Shannon Carlin

Mariska Hargitay is opening up about how her role on Law & Order: SVU has made her an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.

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Miami PD to begin work on state’s largest backlog of untested rape kits
January 4, 2016 • Miami Herald
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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New celebrity PSAs address myth, societal attitudes that confront male survivors of childhood sexual abuse
March 7, 2016 • Honolulu Star Advertiser
Sophie Cocke

Joyful Heart and 1in6 are proud to share a new series in Joyful Heart’s groundbreaking, celebrity-driven NO MORE PSA campaign to address the myths and excuses surrounding males who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, and to invite male survivors to seek help at 1in6.org. The PSAs were created in partnership with Viacom, directed by Joyful Heart’s Founder & President, actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay, developed in partnership with Y&R, Executive Creative Director/Writer, Rachel Howald, and photographed by world-renowned celebrity photographer Timothy White.

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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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New York Giants join My Sisters' Place to help end domestic violence
October 25, 2016 • White Plains Daily Voice
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

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