Currently there are 11,341 victims whose forgotten rape kits are collecting dust in Detroit. But a group of businesswomen hope to change that.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy knows first hand how hard it’s been making rape kit testing a priority.
Worthy told The New York Times she “knew that they all had to be tested, even the ones that were beyond the statute of limitations”
“I wanted to try to bring justice to each and every one of those victims that I could,” she said.
But with a lack of funds, the testing was virtually impossible.
After hearing about Worthy’s efforts to get the kits tested, Joanna Cline, chief marketing officer for a wall decal company called Fathead, gathered over 200 business women in Detroit and they formed Enough SAID (Sexual Assault in Detroit) and raised millions of dollars to go towards rape kit testing.
“We probably have the resources to do something to show the victims that they matter, show the perpetrators they’re not going to get away with it and just keep working to make Detroit a safer city,” Cline told the Times.
One of Enough’s biggest supporters so far has been Sheryl Sandberg, who donated $250,000.
Enough SAID has raised $1.3 million from private donors and $7.6 million in public financing. Still struggling financially, Wayne County recently set aside $1 million from the county’s delinquent tax fund so Worthy can hire more investigators and set aside secure office space for them to work.
It’s also interesting to not that 81 percent of the sexual assault victims whose rape kits were abandoned were black women.
“It’s an interesting time for Detroit,” added Michelle Busuito, a lawyer for the suburban bus system in Detroit who is also involved in Enough SAID. “The world is watching us. But you can’t have economic development if you can’t feel safe walking to your car after work.”