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.
Survivor and sexual assault advocate Julie Weil describes what Florida's recently passed sexual assault kit legislation, Florida SB 636, means for survivors who have felt like their voices have not been heard.
Survivor Brenda Tracy and attorney and advocate Jacqueline Swanson have been working to pass rape kit backlog legislation in Oregon for some time and are overjoyed that Melissa's Law just passed both the Oregon House and Senate with unanimous approval. They describe what this means for survivors across the state.
The "Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act" is a highly supported piece of Georgia legislation brought by Rep. Scott Holcomb to address the untested rape kit backlog. The House of Representatives passed the bill, unanimously. However, it is now seriously threatened in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.
Cleveland, which is located in Cuyahoga County, has been leading the way in securing cold case convictions after submitting nearly 4,000 backlogged rape kits for testing as part of Ohio's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative.
The untested kits date back to 1985.
As legislative sessions have come to an end in states across the country, progress has been made in efforts to address the rape kit backlog.
Over the past several weeks, the colors of the ENDTHEBACKLOG map, which demonstrates everything we currently know about the rape kit backlog nationwide, have been changing.
As states across the country have opened their legislative sessions since the start of the new year, ENDTHEBACKLOG has been watching closely for rape kit reforms. Starting in 2010, the legislatures in Illinois, Texas and Colorado blazed the trail for mandating the testing of all rape kits booked into police evidence. Other states are beginning to follow their lead to varying degrees.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Mike DeWine released his office’s monthly update on the progress of rape kit testing in Ohio.