Enough is enough: Denim Day to raise money for untested rape kits

- There are still 600 rape kits that are untested in Detroit because there isn't enough money to process them. Local activists are hoping to change that by raising enough money by the end of April.

8 years ago, 11,341 rape kits were discovered in a Detroit warehouse. They were all untested. Today, about 600 remain but there isn't enough money to pay for them to be tested.

Most of those kits - 81% - are African American victims.

Now the community is joining up with the African-American 490 Challenge to campaign to raise $206,000 to make sure they're all tested.

"When a survivor goes through everything that it takes to even get a rape kit done, and then to have that kit put away, it really silences them and victimizes them again," Challenge Member Larmender Davis said.

Thanks to help from generous donations and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, have already come through to help pay for most of the rape kits. But on Tuesday, April 26, your help is needed to raise the rest of that money.

Detroit Free Press columnist and attempted rape survivor, Rochelle Riley, is continuing her fight with them.

"I'm not going to stop writing about it until every kit is tested," Riley said. "Rape is about power. And when people try to take your power, you have to take it back."

Denim day began in Rome nearly 20 years ago. A man was cleared of rape because of what the victim was wearing.

"The judge said, 'well she had on tight jeans so she had to help him take the jeans down so it wasn't rape'," Davis said.

Since that day, sexual assault survivors and their supporters have dressed down in denim each year on that day to remind everyone that the statistics of this heinous act are startling: she says a serial rapist violates between seven and 11 victims, and one in four women will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

"That means all of us know someone who has been victimized by this horrific crime," Riley said.

"This is a problem we can help. So please do your part and help us to do this," Davis said.

Everyone is urged to participate on denim day on April 26th. That evening, there will also be a fashion show, called Jeans for Justice and all proceeds will go towards getting those kits tested. 

CLICK HERE for more information and here for the AA490 Challenge. Rochelle Riley's column on the Freep.com is HERE.


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