Building on the momentum of a new $35 million national fund for rape kit testing, Detroit's Wayne County Prosecutor's office—which discovered 11,000 untested rape kits in an abandoned storage unit five years ago—announced a new public-private partnership working to raise $10 million to fund the investigation and prosecution of unsolved rape cases.
The campaign, called Enough SAID (Sexual Assault In Detroit), is an independent collaboration between the Michigan Women's Foundation, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and the Detroit Crime Commission; the goal is to test all remaining kits and to establish a team of detectives and attorneys trained specifically to handle the estimated 3,000 sexual assault cases. At a press conference in Detroit, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy—a real badass who has been lobbying for years to gain funding for backlog testing—discussed her own experience with rape:
Worthy noted that "even if it didn't happen to me, I don't think I'd be any less passionate about this." In her own case, Worthy said she was raped by someone who grabbed her from behind as she was jogging when she was a law student at the University of Notre Dame. She did not report the attack, believing that it could derail her law career.
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Despite the $4 million Michigan allocated in 2013 to test the remaining kits, there simply isn't enough funding—especially in a cash-strapped city like Detroit—to push these cases through without the help of private donors. The partnership "represents one of the nation's first efforts to right this wrong," said Carolyn Cassin, president & CEO of Michigan Women's Foundation. "It is, in our world, a critical statement that crimes against women will not be brushed aside or diminished in any way."
To read more or donate to Enough SAID, click here.
Image via AP