Episode Twelve - Kym Worthy

In 2009, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office discovered 11,341 untested rape kits in a Detroit Police Department storage facility. This week on the "Women Who Rock" podcast, I speak with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy who has made it her mission to make sure every single last kit is tested and justice is brought to the survivors.

For those who have been sexually assaulted, sometimes having their voice heard in a court room and getting justice can provide the closure they need to move on with life, or at least try. Imagine though, that you never get your day in court because your rape kit sat on a shelf, in a box, in a dilapidated building somewhere in Detroit where it never saw the light of day. The reality is in 2009, an employee at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office discovered more than 11,000 rape kits in a Detroit Police Department storage facility that had never been tested.

Since that day, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has made it a mission to make sure that those abandoned kits get tested and those responsible for the sexual assaults are prosecuted. Listen to the podcast to hear why Kym Worthy is a "WCSX Woman Who Rocks".

As a result of the processing of previous kits, 273 cases are being investigated, 130 rapists have been convicted and 818 serial sex offenders have been identified. The tests have also revealed that the rapists have committed rapes and other crimes in 40 states.

Prosecutor Worthy received help a few years ago from the Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by Hollywood actress Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson on the police drama series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Hargitay, is also the co-producer of "I Am Evidence". The documentary just debuted on HBO and goes into detail the battle that Prosecutor Worthy and others like her have faced trying to bring justice to sexual assault survivors. The film also shows the aftermath for those survivors face after they have been assaulted.

I Am Evidence (2018) Official Trailer | HBO

I Am Evidence exposes the alarming number of untested rape kits in the United States through a character-driven narrative, bringing much needed attention to the disturbing pattern of how the criminal justice system has historically treated sexual assault survivors. #endthebacklog #IAMEVIDENCE #HBO #HBODcos Subscribe to the HBO YouTube Channel: https://goo.gl/JQUfqt Don't have HBO?

 

In the 2nd half of the podcast Cyndy Schalter-Salsido from Turning Point Macomb and I discuss the documentary "I Am Evidence" which just debuted on HBO.  The documentary exposes the shocking number of untested rape kits in the United States today, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. More than 11,000 were discovered in a Detroit warehouse in 2009.  Despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes, these kits containing potentially crucial evidence languish untested in police evidence storage rooms.

Cyndy speaks about her personal experience with law enforcement, survivors, and how to change the mind set of how rape and sexual assault survivors are perceived by law enforcement and the public.

April is "Sexual Assault Awareness" Month, and Turning Point Macomb has several events planned. We discuss how you can support those you love who are survivors and get help to those who need it.

 


(Cyndy Schalter-Salsido)

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