I have a lot of residual guilt from being rough (often times mean) to B while we were growing up. I didn’t do it on purpose but it happened and I know that it strained our relationship. Thankfully, things have really improved over the past year and with her moving back home in the spring I think we’ll be able to have a close sister relationship. It certainly won’t hurt that I was able to snag Mariska Hargitay’s autograph for her this morning. I definitely felt like a cool big sister today.
Hargitay isn’t filming in Detroit. She’s actually here doing meaningful work for rape victims. I felt like a smuck asking for an autograph but I had to do it for B. For those of you who don’t know Hargitay stars on Law & Order: Special Victims Units. She received so many letters from fans who shared their stories that she decided to learn more about the issue and started the Joyful Heart Foundation.
The problem of unprocessed rape kits is a national epidemic but as is the case for most lists you-don’t-want-to-be-on, Detroit ranks. In 2009, 11,000 untested rape kits were found at a police warehouse. Yes, ELEVEN THOUSAND! The thought of that many rapes is appalling. It’s scarier to think that many sexual assaults go unreported. However, you begin to understand why when the people that file a report and endure a 4-6 hour invasive examination are left without any resolution and their cases are shelved and forgotten.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is working to correct this injustice and Hargitay is in Detroit to help. Currently, 1,600 kits have been tested and 100s of serial rapist have been identified (and some already prosecuted). It’s a meaningful step forward but there is a lot that needs to be done. It’s the work left to be done that really brought Hargitay to town. Worthy is using Hargitay’s star power to attract attention to the Sexual Assault Kit Evidence Submission Act that will be introduced in the Michigan legislature soon.
If you live in Michigan I think this is something worth writing your representative about. It’s a non-partisan/bi-partisan issue. Something that effect WAY too many people. You can find your representatives at the links below: