Mariska, Helena, Prosecutor Worthy and Katie. Photography courtesy of Disney-ABC.
During the September 23rd episode of The Katie Couric Show, a courageous survivor named Helena and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appeared alongside actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay to shed light on the staggering national rape kit backlog and say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault.
Helena, whose story we've featured here before, waited 14 years for justice as the rape kit collected in her assault sat untested and she waited years without any information from law enforcement.
Worthy made national headlines for her work to address the backlog of over 11,000 untested rape kits discovered in a Detroit Police Department storage warehouse. Referred to by Essence Magazine as the "toughest woman in Detroit," Worthy shared with Couric and the audience that the untested rape kits represent a further injustice for survivors of sexual assault.
"These [rape kits that we found in Detroit] were women’s lives. They go through this examination thinking that this evidence was going to help find their perpetrator. And it’s sitting on a shelf, gathering dust. And this was their life—and nobody cared."
As a result of Worthy’s efforts, over 1,400 of Detroit’s kits have been tested, resulting in 238 hits in the national DNA databank and the identification of 46 potential serial rapists. DNA from the kits tested so far has linked to crimes committed in 12 other states and the District of Columbia.
Read Helena's story here.