The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act would allocate some $10 million to targeting the rape kit backlog which, in the words of RAINN president Scott Berkowitz, is "a crazy situation." And that's why RAINN is lobbying for it.
Berkowitz discussed the topic at Thursday's RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) fundraiser in D.C. "The problem we're trying to solve is that there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits -– this is evidence for rapes at rape crime scenes that's been taken after a very difficult process that the victim has to go through," he explained. "The evidence has been collected and it's literally sitting there on shelves and has never been sent to the crime lab for testing for DNA." Should the SAFER Act pass Congress — it will be introduced in January, sponsored by Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX) — it will help to get a better handle on the backlogged kits and, in turn, pressure criminal investigators to prosecute cases.
While the SAFER act was certainly a major talking point in regards to the future efforts of the organization, the fundraiser itself was headlined by Jezebel buddy (and professional wrestler) Mick Foley and actress KaDee Strickland, whose character on Private Practice was raped.
I spoke to KaDee — who was accompanied by rape survivor and RAINN speaker Marni Goodfriend, with whom KaDee prepared for the episode -– about the reactions to the show's controversial plot development.
Meanwhile, Mick Foley (whose forthcoming Jezebel advice column will fix your life!) was able to get a RAINN mention on The Daily Show, which is a pretty notable significant awareness-raising accomplishment. He took a second to talk to us about his efforts:
RAINN staff at the event praised Foley and Strickland for their efforts to create a public conversation about rape and sexual violence. The organization also honored Shonda Rimes, creator of Private Practice, for her decision to tell a story of rape on her show. Shonda, while not able to attend the event in person, delivered an emotional message through KaDee: "There are so many Charlottes in the world," she said. "I did this for the survivors. I want them to know they are not alone. You are not alone."
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