Fundraising to Test Rape Kits

The Michigan Women’s Foundation is hosting a Crowdrise campaign to raise money for untested rape kits in Detroit, MI. The event is called the Enough SAID: African American 490 Challenge and its aim, according to its Crowdrise.com page, is to raise 10 million dollars to test and help raise money to prosecute the backlog of over 11,000 rape kits discovered in a warehouse belonging to the Detroit Police Department back in 2009.
The event’s name comes from the $490 price tag of testing, processing, and investigating a single rape kit. SAID stands for “Sexual-Assault in Detroit,” which, as the name suggests, there has been enough of. According to the event’s Crowdrise page, “Each kit represents a soul crushing brutal crime. Each kit represents a case that remains uninvestigated. Each kit represents a sexual offender who has never faced justice. Each kit represents a victim who doesn’t have closure.” The city of Detroit, still struggling to pull itself out of recession, doesn’t have the money to investigate the kits which span from the 80s until now. The first step in bringing justice to the perpetrators and closure to the victims is raising the money to process those kits. For this, the city is turning to the public.

The fundraiser targets African American women specifically because, according to Wayne State Board of Governors Kim Trent, “Nearly 81 percent of Detroit’s rape victims are African American.” The Crowdrise page implores black women to stand up against sexual assault by raising their voices and not allowing victims “who look and live like [them]” to remain forgotten any longer.

Claire Martin of the New York Times reported that the campaign has since raised more than $1.3 million from private donors and another $7.6 million in public financing. In collaboration with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Crime Commission, kits are being sent to private labs that have offered discounts for testing them, according to endthebacklog.org.

Though this is welcome news for rape victims, the question still remains: how did the backlog get this bad in the first place? To put it into perspective, the Detroit backlog is nearly three times the size of the backlog in Cleveland, OH which stands at 4,000 and has 35 investigators working to bring it down. The Enough SAID page says, “Detroit currently has 12 investigators,” and warns, “that’s not nearly enough. “

The campaign has proven to be incredibly effective and the results are staggering. According to Claire Martin, Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy’s office “had identified 652 people suspected of being serial sexual assault offenders and had secured 27 convictions. An additional 182 cases are being investigated and 1,598 more are awaiting investigation.”

To learn more, please go to: http://www.aa490challenge.org

To donate, please go to: https://www.crowdrise.com/africanamerican490challenge

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