It's a sad fact that due to budget cuts and lack of adequate staffing, Detroit law officials have had a difficult time keeping up with a backlog of sexual violence cases, which include 11,000 rape kits that have yet to be processed. But actress Mariska Hargitay wants to help, and said at a press conference on Monday that the issue is "the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes in our country."
The "Law & Order: SVU" actress is working with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her own Joyful Heart Foundation to pass legislature which would ensure that serial rapists are caught and held responsible for their assaults through extensive testing of the rape kits.
"Every day in the United States women and men take the courageous step of reporting their rape to the police," Hargitay said. "And because of what those individuals have suffered, their bodies are crime scenes. They're living, breathing, feeling crime scenes from which doctors and nurses collect evidence in a sexual assault collection kit."
Helping to bring attention to the issue has raised awareness in D.C., as President Obama has promised $35 million to allocate for the kit testing in 2015.
"Some of the kits are over 25 years old, and we want to make sure we deal with the victims mercifully and honestly," Worthy said. "Our ultimate goal ... when it comes to the legislative side is to identify and apprehend those offenders as soon as possible to stop serial rapists."
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