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Detroit initiative raises private funds to test ignored rape kits

Rape kits contain crucial DNA evidence taken from sexual assault survivors, so when more than 11,000 were discovered at the Detroit Police Department untested and unprocessed, many people strongly felt that something had to be done. The organization Enough SAID has successfully raised over $1-million from the private sector to pay for the testing of these kits. We speak with two women from Enough SAID.

In 2009, a shocking discovery was made at the Detroit Police Department. A Wayne County assistant prosecutor noticed stacks upon stacks of rape kits on the shelves containing DNA evidence taken from survivors of sexual assault. All in all, there were more than 11,000, and some of them had been in storage for 30 years. They had never been tested or investigated.

After this came to light, a number of women stepped up to tackle the problem. An organization called Enough SAID, which stands for Sexual Assault in Detroit, was formed to raise private sector funding for investigation of the kits and prosecution of the resulting cases. Current State talks with two of those women.

Joanna Cline is the chief marketing officer at Fathead, a graphics and decal business in Detroit, and she was instrumental in raising awareness about the untested kits and getting local businesses involved. Margaret Tallet is the chief community engagement officer of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, which has been leading the Enough SAID effort.

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