On June 14, over 5,000 men and women from around the globe gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues affecting women and girls. Organized by the White House, this Summit was an important moment that brought together a range of disciplines: from education and health to economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, and sexual violence.
Today, Joyful Heart Foundation Founder and President Mariska Hargitay was proud to stand beside Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as they awarded nearly $80 million in funding for law enforcement agencies to address their backlogs of untested rape kits.
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.
NO MORE Day of Action included a landmark speech by Joyful Hearts's Founder, Mariska Hargitay, at the National Press Club that shined much-needed light on the backlog of untested rape kits.
On May 20, 2010, Mariska testified before the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the backlog of untested rape kits in this country.