News, media, commentary, testimonials and more in one sortable location.

The Backlog

Tags: raise awareness

Across the country, the rape kit backlog is making headlines. Journalists are uncovering backlogs, jurisdictions are implementing reforms to track and test rape kits and citizens are taking action. In the Media Center, you'll find the latest information about the backlog, including: commentary from the END THE BACKLOG staff and backlog reformers, first-person testimonials from those impacted by the backlog, an archive of news articles, op-eds, investigative reports, legislation and government publications we've identified, and more.

ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 6, 2011

Interview with Linda Fairstein: Part 2

They say to write about what you know and Linda Fairstein, the former New York County District Attorney Special Victims Unit Chief Prosecutor certainly knows the subjects that she fills her pages with. In this part of our interview, continued from our post on Friday, Fairstein talks to me about the evolution of the rape kit, what it was like to be prosecuting cases as the science around DNA was beginning to take hold and her thoughts on the backlog of untested rape kits.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGMarch 2, 2011

Interview with Linda Fairstein: Part 1

I recently had a chance to sit down with bestselling crime novelist, former Sex Crimes Unit chief prosecutor of the New York County District Attorney and staunch advocate for rape kit reform, Linda Fairstein. Despite her non-stop schedule around the March 1st paperback release of HELL GATE, Linda was able to provide me with a thoroughly fascinating account of what it was like to lead the New York County District Attorney Sex Crimes prosecution unit for 26 years, her well-informed thoughts on rape kit reform and insight into how she sits down to write her best-selling novels.

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EndTheBacklogFebruary 27, 2011

America’s Cold-Case Crisis

Charles Courtney, Jr., was arrested in Franklin County, Indiana in September 1996, for the knifepoint rape of his wife, Mary Jane, when she told him she wanted a divorce the night he returned from a trip on his job as a long-distance truck driver. Like defendants in many domestic violence cases, Courtney was offered a plea to a lesser charge of sexual battery. As such, his two-year sentence was far lighter than it would have been had he raped a stranger–a sad truth about many rapists whose victims are partners or acquaintances. That conviction earned the government the right to put Courtney’s genetic profile in the FBI’s convicted-offender databank. He was released from prison on January 4, 1998.

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EndTheBacklogFebruary 22, 2011

Students Continue to Raise Awareness

From news sources national to local to campus-based, the backlog has been receiving a lot of coverage lately. A couple weeks ago, a Georgia high school student named Brittany emailed Joyful Heart to ask for an interview with Sarah Tofte, JHF’s Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships, for an article she was writing for her school newspaper, The Pitchfork.

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EndTheBacklogJanuary 24, 2011

Student Leader Creates Mock Legislation, Raises Real Awareness

In 2010, the Joyful Heart Foundation‘s second issue of Reunion featured a story of a young girl whose big voice is matched only by her bigger heart. Ella Burnside was given an assignment from her English teacher: write about something in the world you want to change, and then do it. Ella wrote about ending sexual violence and domestic abuse, and then went about raising over $10,000 for Joyful Heart. She was in tenth grade.

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ENDTHEBACKLOGJanuary 6, 2011

Interview with CBS Investigative Reporter Laura Strickler

I spoke with Laura Strickler, the Washington-based investigative producer for the Emmy-award winning CBS News Investigative Unit since 2006. Armen Keteyian and Laura Strickler’s five month investigation into untested rape kits nationwide uncovering 20,000 untested rape kits in various cities won the 2010 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, as well as the 2010 Gracie Award for Best Investigative Program.

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EndTheBacklogJanuary 2, 2011

Global Dispatch: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Today, we’re pleased to introduce a new recurring Backlog Blog feature entitled “Global Dispatches” that will offer first person views from individuals and organizations around the world that address the issues we seek to address. We hope that these updates will inspire our supporters to engage both locally and globally on these issues.

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EndTheBacklogNovember 4, 2010

Endthebacklog.org Awareness Campaign Featured During Roller Derby Championship Bout

I am Christine Vargo, Manager of Programs for the Joyful Heart Foundation’s New York office and I am also a skater for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby’s Bronx Gridlock. The season championship game on October 30th, between the Bronx Gridlock and the Queens of Pain began with an awareness effort for www.endthebacklog.org.

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