This week, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced $35 million in funding for jurisdictions to test backlogged rape kits—the single largest financial contribution toward ending the rape kit backlog.
The rape kit backlog sends two terrible messages: to victims, it says: you don't matter. What happened to you doesn't matter. And to criminals, it says: what you did doesn't matter. Testing the kits reverses those messages.
Today's announcement is a watershed moment.
A courageous survivor named Helena and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appeared alongside Mariska Hargitay to shed light on the backlog. Helena waited 14 years for justice. Worthy is working to address the backlog of over 11,000 in Detroit.
The Prosecutor's Office says 11,000 rape kits have been found sitting on the shelves at a police annex building. Most of the kits were untested, until now.