Actress producing documentary on rape kit backlog - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Law & Order: SVU' actress producing documentary on rape kit backlog

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Mariska Hargitay, also known as Captain Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: SVU" is producing a documentary focused on rape kit backlogs. Mariska Hargitay, also known as Captain Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: SVU" is producing a documentary focused on rape kit backlogs.

(WMC-TV) - Mariska Hargitay, also known as Captain Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: SVU" is producing a documentary focused on rape kit backlogs.

The backlogged rape kits have been an ongoing issue in the Mid-South. Tennessee lawmakers are now considering legislation that would address the problem.

Holding back emotion, the actress announced the latest push for change. She is producing a documentary about the backlog in Detroit with the hope of addressing the national problem at the same time.

"Bottom line is rape kits can bring justice," Hargitay said. "And justice for so many survivors can bring healing."

The documentary, called "Shelved," will begin production this week.

The film documents the thousands of untested rape kits that were found in a police storage facility in Detroit, much like the backlog of rape kits in Memphis.

"Our hope is that this film will shine a light on the rape kit backlog and demand that we collectively account for this dark mark in our history and take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again," she continued.

Production begins this week, but Hargitay has been on a crusade to raise awareness about the issue. She recently appeared on The Katie Show and talked with Katie Couric about the backlog.

"Hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits all across the country are sitting in storage facilities literally rotting," Hargitay said to Katie Couric about the backlog.

To The Katie Show she brought with her a victim of the tragedy, a woman whose kit went untested for five years. When it was finally tested, her attacker couldn't be prosecuted for the crime.

"Because the statute had expired, the only reason he was convicted of any crime at all is because in the process of taking my I.D. he took $20 from my wallet so that became abduction with the intent to commit a crime," said the victim.

Even though production on the documentary begins this week in Detroit, the foundation has been working in the city for several years to make it a reality.

Hargitay is also the founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, the same organization that is helping to create a plan to process the untested rape kits in Memphis.

Click here to learn more about the Joyful Heart Foundation: http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/

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