2018 D/17 Salutes Detroit

Kym Worthy: 817 serial rapists IDed in tests of Detroit rape kits

https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/nancy-kaffer/2017/12/17/rape-kit-detroit/953083001/

Q: All the things you were talking about, the better tracking system, the new guidelines for when rape kits get tested … in the National Institute of Justice report on the backlog (by Michigan State University Professor Rebecca Campbell), the big takeaway there was that too often, officers didn’t believe victims, and had used disbelief as a way to triage their workload.

A: They just closed cases, even cases where I think they believed the victim … They closed cases because the women had worked as prostitutes or had mental illness issues or had substance abuse. Didn’t believe them, didn’t care, and this was one issue that led to the backlog of these kits.

08 January 2018

nkaffer@freepress.com

Nancy,

I am writing you in reference to your December 17th interview with Kym Worthy about untested rape kits. I wanted to thank you for this article, it was eye-opening and has inspired me to research this issue in my state, Pennsylvania. Coincidentally, I read your article after returning from Philadelphia’s December 17th event for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

As such, I would like to make you aware of the memorial event happening in Detroit on January 20th, 2018. Alternatives For Girls’ (AFG) Safe Choices Project is organizing the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers event at 903 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. I urge you to write about this event.

Your article identified a critical connection between violence against sex workers, unprocessed rape kits, and serial predators. Law enforcement (and much of society) has the perception that sex workers are less than human. Crimes against sex workers often go uninvestigated, filed as “No Human Involved.”

This event was created to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally conceived by Dr. Annie Sprinkle and started by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, it is a nationwide memorial and vigil for the Sex Workers who are victims of violence.

Sex workers are forgotten members of society. They are someone’s family. They are someone’s friend. They are people. And they don’t deserve to be forgotten or ignored. Also, the fact those committing crimes against sex workers may be serial predators involved in other crimes needs to be highlighted as another reason for law enforcement agencies to take a more serious approach to this issue. No matter what you think about sex workers and the politics surrounding them, sex workers are a part of our neighborhoods, communities, and families.

I was a volunteer at Philadelphia’s 2017 memorial on December 17, 2017. Memorial co-organizer Melanie Dante is a great resource and advocate for the rights of sex workers.

Thank you for your consideration. Below links you may find helpful.

SWOP Michigan International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

http://www.swop-mi.org/dec17.htm

Official website for December 17 International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

http://www.december17.org/

Philadelphia December 17th Website

https://dec17philly.com/