Although the exact amount is hard to estimate, the US government approximates that tens if not hundreds of thousands of sexual assault kits – which take hours to perform on survivors of sexual assault and are used as a means to collect DNA and other evidence to pinpoint an assaulter or rapist – sit untested in police storage units and other facilities.
Erykah Badu, a singer-songwriter and known activist, has announced that she will donate a portion of the money raised by her concert at the Chene Park Amphitheatre in Detroit to the Enough SAID African American 490 Challenge.
In 2009, over 11,300 untested rape kits were found in a Detroit Police storage unit. Over 10,000 of the kits have been tested so far, but Badu and others are combining efforts to fund the testing of the remaining thousand.
Enough SAID – an acronym for Enough Sexual Assault In Detroit – is a campaign organized between a partnership with the Michigan Women’s Foundation, The Detroit Crime Commission and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to fund untested rape kits.
Enough SAID is promoting the African American 490 Challenge – because it costs $490 to process a single rape kit, and because the majority of the survivors and victims associated with the untested rape kits are African American women, the challenge is meant to inspire both African American women in Detroit and concerned citizens in and outside of the community to raise the funds to process the remaining kits.
In 2013, Detroit became the largest city in American history to declare bankruptcy, and the city is still reeling from the effects of their economic downfall. The organization said it feels the city is not in a place to fund the remaining kits, and therefore the monetary burden must be taken on by the citizens of Detroit.
“This is a huge day for Enough SAID/A.A.490,” Kym Worthy, a Wayne County Prosecutor and driving force for the organizations to fund the rape kits said in a statement. “Everyone knows that Erykah Badu is a major, major talent in the music and song-writing industry. For her to lend her name, talent and time to this work is nothing short of a miracle. Justice for these forgotten sexual assault victims has been given a phenomenal assist.”
The Right Productions, which organizes major events for venues, including the Chene Park Amphitheatre, is partnering with Badu for her concert on August 12. Shahida Mausi, The Right Productions’ President, told the Free Press that a portion of funds from ticket sales, a pre-show reception, and from VIP tickets will be donated to the Enough SAID African American 490 Challenge.
You can donate to the Enough Said African American 490 Challenge to help test sexual assault kits here. We hope that all of the women find peace and are able to move forward with the results of these kits.
Lead Image Credit: photographer695; via Flickr Commons