Joyful Heart is proud to share with you the new ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, our website dedicated to shining a light on and ending the rape kit backlog—hundreds of thousands of rape kits collected in the aftermath of a sexual assault, sitting untested in police and crime lab storage facilities.
When we first launched this website more than three years ago, we sought to turn up the volume on the conversation about the backlog and what it represents: hundreds of thousands of survivors denied access to justice. Today, four states have implemented comprehensive rape kit reforms, investigative reports have uncovered backlogs in cities across the country and officials have made the number of untested kits in their communities publicly known. We are beginning to see a clearer national picture of the rape kit backlog. We are seeing the immense value that rape kit testing brings.
"The rape kit backlog is one of the most shocking demonstrations of how we regard the crime of sexual assault in our society. Rape kit testing can bring justice, often an integral part of a survivor's healing, and it is vital in keeping rapists off the streets. And yet experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country."
- Mariska Hargitay, Founder & President, Joyful Heart Foundation
To build on this momentum, our new site includes an interactive map displaying everything we know and do not know about where the backlog exists, an extensive media and resource archive of news and reporting about the backlog from across the country, an integrated blog with updates and commentary about the backlog and more.
With the new ENDTHEBACKLOG.org, we will continue to raise awareness about the backlog and share vital information about reform efforts, all with the aim of improving our collective response to sexual violence. It is our hope that you will join us and use the site to:
- Learn more about the backlog in your area and nationwide.
- Find out why the rape kit backlog exists—and what some jurisdictions are doing to end it.
- Read stories from survivors across the country who have been affected by the backlog, and share the resources and information with your community.
- Take action to end the backlog—advocate for change, raise awareness, shop for ENDTHEBACKLOG gear or donate to our efforts.
Together we can end the backlog. Thank you for joining us.
Sarah Tofte and Maile Zambuto
Joyful Heart Foundation
November 7th, 2013