Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy took the Sound Board stage during a session sponsored by Comcast Business to talk about the 11,341 untested sexual assault kits that were discovered in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility in 2009.
Worthy and her office worked relentlessly to ensure these victims became a priority and received justice. Not long after the discovery, federal grants and donations from Detroit businesses poured in to support these efforts. The first-ever public-private partnership of its kind was formed around the goal to ensure every kit found was tested and every case investigated.
“If you think about each one of those rape kits having a victim attached, we know that The Big House at the University of Michigan holds 100,000 people and the number of estimated rape kits, which I think is conservative, across this country can fill up that stadium four times. That visual can help you understand what a huge problem this has been,” Worthy explained.
From a partnership with the Michigan’s Women’s Foundation to the philanthropic and business communities coming together on the steps of Grand Hotel at the Mackinac Policy Conference to form the “Enough Said” campaign, the issue garnered support from both state and national organizations.
Working with Gov. Rick Snyder, the Sexual Assault for Michigan Act was passed in 2014, which gives each kit a timeframe for testing. In turn, Detroit and the way the rape kits are handled has become a national model.
In addition, a partnership with UPS and Quicken Loans was formed to create a tracking system that helps track each kit from location to location. Michigan is now working to develop a first-of-its-kind statewide tracking system.
To date, the following progress has been made:
- 334 cases have been investigated
- 1,042 are awaiting investigation
- 78 convictions have been made
- 784 serial rapists have been identified
Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference: