Law enforcement and state governments across the US have a dirty little secret—the rape kit backlog problem. End the Backlog is an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which was started by Mariska Hargitay, the star of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. According to End the Backlog, someone is sexually assaulted in the US every 98 seconds. When the victim reports the assault, she/he can choose to have an examination, the results of which are collected in a sexual assault evidence kit, commonly referred to as a rape kit. DNA evidence from these kits can often help to solve and prevent crime. Yet, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested across the country in what is known as the rape kit backlog.

I first learned of this problem a few months ago when an episode of Special Victims Unit shined a spotlight on the issue. After doing some research on the topic, I really wanted to create a visualization that helps to educate people further on the extent of the problem. Thus was born my latest visualization, End the Backlog. Click on the image below to see the fully interactive version. And please be sure to follow the link at the bottom for more information and ways you can help.

Ken Flerlage, January 1, 2018

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