YWCA to Host May 12 Live Online Event on Rape Kit Backlog and VAWA

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YWCA to Host May 12 Live Online Event on Rape Kit Backlog and VAWA

Fifteen out of 16 rapists never spend a day in jail. Undetected repeat offenders commit 91% of all rapes. Yet across the nation, hundreds of thousands of rape evidence kits remain unprocessed. These unprocessed rape kits are justice denied for the thousands of women who are raped in the U.S. each year — and the rapists go free to commit more crimes.

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 3:00 PM Eastern time (12:00 PM Pacific time), YWCA USA will host a free, live online video chat event to help YWCA associations, grassroots organizations, and individuals effect change in their communities. This live event will focus on two important issues: the backlog of rape forensic evidence kits at local law enforcement agencies and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Confirmed speaker is Kim Gandy, vice president and general counsel of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

“The YWCA has long advocated for empowerment and justice for women,” says Gloria Lau, interim CEO of YWCA USA. “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves justice. Women endure hours of physical evidence collection from their bodies in the aftermath of an already traumatic sexual assault with the expectation that these rape evidence kits will be processed and used to hold their assailants accountable. We owe it to these brave women to make sure every last kit is processed and catalogued.”

“The rape evidence kit backlog and the Violence Against Women Act were important topics at our 2011 YWCA National Conference last month,” Lau continued, “and we are excited to use online technology to expand the discussion and put empowerment tools where they are most needed – in the hands of YWCAs and other grassroots organizations working tirelessly on behalf of women in big cities and small towns all over the country.”

During the live chat, attendees will learn how thousands of unprocessed rape evidence kits affect women’s safety and wellbeing; how to determine the status of unprocessed rape evidence kits in their community; specific steps to take to raise local awareness of the issue and advocate for change; why VAWA is important and what individuals and organizations can do to raise awareness in their communities and with elected officials.

This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

To register for this free event, go to: http://ywca-vawa.eventbrite.com