Endthebacklog.org Awareness Campaign Featured During Roller Derby Championship Bout

Photo courtesy of Asa Frye

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. Joyful Heart’s communications and advocacy teams worked in collaboration with the members of the league’s community outreach committee by providing the two competing teams with t-shirts, which displayed the website address for www.endthebacklog.org, to wear during warm-ups before the final match. Tip cards, which provide detailed information about what the rape kit backlog is and offers resources to survivors, were also included in the bout program for the 2000 fans arriving to support their favorite team.

GGRD was 100% behind the idea of wearing the shirts and promoting the website when I first introduced it to them. As a member of this group of 60+ women, I bear witness to the tremendous strength and confidence each skater possesses, both on and off the track on a regular basis. The unfortunate reality, however, is that there are survivors of sexual violence among us, which is cause enough for us to have an invested interest in shedding light on the issue of the rape kit backlog.

Photo courtesy of Asa Frye

As one teammate shared with me in preparation of the Championship bout, “There is still so much shame and stigma around the issue of rape and sexual violence, just knowing that there can be a backlog of untested rape kits is deplorable! It is such a traumatizing experience to come forward, to go to a hospital, sit through that exam and then to have the evidence collected not go anywhere is just gross.”

I couldn’t agree more, which is why this initiative is so important for so many survivors across the country. And that’s one reason why I am so proud to be a part of an organization that is working to ensure healing and justice for survivors of sexual violence. Having GGRD sign-on in support of the cause has given me the opportunity to bring my two worlds together and I hope our efforts inspire many more to help shine a light on this important issue.

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END THE BACKLOG is a JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION initiative and a proud supporter of