The Joyful Heart Foundation is a foundation that I am very proud to support. Here is why:
Each envelope in this display represents a step in a sexual assault evidence collection exam. The contents, which can take between 4 and 6 hours to collect from a recently traumatized victim go into what is commonly known as a rape kit.
There are estimated to be over 200,000 untested rape kits that are sitting in police and crime lab storage facilities across the US alone. Each represents lost healing and justice for a survivor and most represent a rapist that is walking the streets free.
This is what 300 rape kits looks like. This installation is 8 feet wide, 9 feet tall and 2 feet deep.
Why Does the Backlog Exist?
In the many jurisdictions where there is no law or policy that mandates the testing of all collected rape kits, whether or not a kit is tested is based on the discretion of police or prosecutors. There are various reasons why law enforcement may decide not to request a kit for testing, including a lack of resources necessary for testing requests. Untested rape kits also represent the fact that many rape cases are closed before making it very far in the criminal justice system.
Very few rape cases make it to an investigative stage where law enforcement would request the kit for testing. In the United States, according to the latest FBI crime data, the crime of rape has a 24% arrest rate-the lowest recorded arrest rate for rape in nearly 40 years of tracking such information. This means that a rape victim has a one in five chance of seeing her perpetrator brought to justice. It also means that a rapist has a 74% chance of getting away with the crime.
Even when law enforcement does send rape kits to the crime lab for testing, those kits can sit for months and, in some cases, years, before being tested. This delay is often because crime labs lack the resources and personnel to test rape kits in a timely manner. This delay in testing also represents a rape kit backlog.
The people at Joyful Heart work everyday helping victims of sexual assault through healing retreats or working the Backlog. Right now JHF is in 9th place out of 100. They are so close to getting this grant but require your vote. I am asking you to please take a moment of your time and help by:
1) getting on your Facebook profile and searching Chase Community Giving
2) Like the Chase Community Giving Page
3) Go to the Find Charities Tab and search Joyful Heart Foundation
4) Click Vote and Share!
Thank you so much for your time and support. Voting ends May 25th!