“Why are there so many untested rape kits in NC?” People have asked in response to an article on who initiated the rape kit inventory in NC and to posts about #endthebacklog and the documentary “I Am Evidence” that examines the problem of untested rape kits and is being shown on HBO at 8pm on 4/16/18.
The problem is there’s no rule on who foots the bill for rape kit testing across the country — it depends on the state and city you live in.
According to “NC may have more untested rape kits now than any state. Advocates want answers.” News and Observer, 3/7/18,
“California and Florida currently are reported as having more than 13,000 untested kits.”
Looks like NC has a sordid history with not bothering to test them. According to the same N&O article on untested rape kits,
NOW Charlotte was well represented at the Mecklenburg County Commissioner’s meeting on March 20, 2018, supporting county opposition to 287g. The federal 287g program is a collaboration between state or local law enforcement and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal program that allows local law enforcement to carry out immigration enforcement duties. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has deported over 15,000 people in Mecklenburg County. NOW Charlotte signed onto an anti-287g letter that was signed by over 40 organizations demanding the end of the program.
Many North Carolinians learned that there are 15,160 untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ (SAECK) left in North Carolina on February 28, 2018. These kits, also known as ‘rape kits’ were inventoried as part of the 2017 state budget, thanks to a bill that was spearheaded by the executive director of a Rape Crisis center in Cumberland County, Deanna Gerdes. Prior to the inventory, no one knew how many untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ there were across NC. Gerdes worked with Lt. John Somerindyke, Fayetteville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit commander, who discovered the problem in the first place and leads a unit to solve these crimes. Other key supporters were bill sponsor state Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland; Roberta Waddle, a long time officer of Fayetteville NOW and NC NOW; and Gerdes’ daughter, Kathryn. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the count on 2/28/18, and has great recommendations going forward what to do. NC is finally making progress on untested rape kits, thanks these heroes in Fayetteville.
Deanna Gerdes at Podium, SBA Celebration with Fayetteville NOW. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga
Gerdes and Somerindyke have talked about their journeys to getting this bill written and passed at a few events with NC NOW and the Fayetteville NOW chapters in the past 6 months. On Feb 22, 2018, the Fayetteville chapter of the National Organization for Women held their 18th annual Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Birthday Celebration, where they honored Gerdes and Somerindyke for their work on the passage of this bill. Some of their journey is captured in “Fighting for statewide sexual assault survivor justice: Gerdes and Somerindyke honored at Fayetteville NOW event,” which was the cover story in the 2/6/18 issues of Up and Coming Weekly, a community paper in Fayetteville. Gerdes and Somerindyke also did a workshop at NC NOW’s state conference last October on grassroots work to pass the auditing of the Sexual Assault kits. More about their workshop and the conference at “Mobilizing Women NOW – Totally Worth It! Summary.”
Fayetteville NOW’s Press Release on upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Event on Dec 2, 2017.
Wreath and grave at 2016 memorial service for DV victim Beryl Mitchell.
In 1974 Beryl Mitchell was murdered in Fayetteville by her active duty military husband. They had two young children. Until nine years ago her grave had no headstone. Then her daughter, Christine Horne returned to Fayetteville to dedicate a headstone for Beryl’s grave. At that time, some members of Fayetteville NOW (National Organization for Women) vowed to lay a wreath
on her grave each year in her memory.
Here are the specifics for the 2017 wreath-laying ceremony.
Date: Saturday, Dec 2, 2017
Place: Lafayette Memorial Park and Mausoleum, 2301 Ramsey Street
Wreath and sign from 2016 wreath laying ceremony Photo Credit: Fay. NOW
Unfortunately Beryl Mitchell is not alone as a victim of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the US,
The President of NC National Organization for Women, Gailya Paliga, led #TuesdaysWithTillis on Nov 14, 2017, with the theme of “Stop the Violence, Stop the Assault/#MeToo.” It was chilly outside, but 45 people and 2 dogs protested anyway. This was Week #43 of the Tuesdays With Tillis protests and still going strong. The next week’s theme (11/21/17) is DACA/Dreamers.
Sept 13, 2017 was the 23rd anniversary of the passage of VAWA, which is severely threatened with Donald Trump (who bragged about committing sexual assault) in office. The VAWA bill is gender-neutral and includes funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines, services for victims with disabilities, legal aide for survivors, and more.
Senator Richard Burr voted against reauthorizing VAWA in 2012, and Senator Thom Tillis isn’t on record yet.
We have 3 actions to take on national issues. Oppose the House Budget which slashes trillions of dollars from healthcare, food and income assistance, education and more. Oppose HR 38 – giving domestic violence offenders the right to stalk and kill their intimate partners across state lines! Oppose HR 36 – another abortion ban.
Thank you to National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence and to National Women’s Law Center for the information.
Action Alert 1: Tell your Rep. to vote “NO” on the US House budget: it slashes trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, food and income assistance, education, housing and more. It takes the money to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, and for corporations!
Monday-Wednesday, Oct 2-4: Call Your Rep and Say NO!
Posted in abortion, ACA, children, domestic violence, economic justice, education, Guns, Medicaid, medicare, public education, safety for women, tax giveaways, violence against women
Tagged abortion, attacks on public education, education, health care, medicaid, medicare, poverty, reproductive rights, violence against women
National figures are joining us in Chapel Hill for a campus showing of Equal Means Equal. Jessica Neuwirth (ERA Coalition), Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority Foundation/Ms. Magazine) and Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman are guest panelists for the Campus 4 ERA launch on Fri., Sept. 15, 2017. Details are below. The event is open to the public, free admission.
Additional panelists are NC State Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.; NC State Representative Carla Cunningham and Emily Hagstrom, Public Policy and Political Science Major, UNC-CH. The moderator is Dr. Gloria Thomas, Director, Carolina Women’s Center, UNC-CH.
Update: Absolutely get there early! Parking info: Rams Head Deck – https://move.unc.edu/parking/visitor-parking/
Posted in discrimination, Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, gender wage gap, labor, lower pay, Misogyny, reproductive rights, violence against women, women
Tagged bad law, Equal Rights Amendment, gender wage gap, health care, labor, violence against women, voting, women's rights
On August 26th in 1920, women won the right to vote – Women’s Equality Day. In conjunction with the annual celebration of this event, we will recognize the continued struggle for women to gain full constitutional inclusion by bringing the film, Equal Means Equal, to the big screen in Asheville, Raleigh and Fayetteville.
1. Equal Means Equal in Raleigh on Aug 24
Date: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Time: 7:30 pm – 9:40 pm
Place: Regal North Hills Stadium 14 in Raleigh
Address: 4150 Main at North Hills St
Get your ticket using this link –
Posted in Cheated out of pay, discrimination, documentaries, Equal Rights Amendment, ERA, gender wage gap, health care, jobs, minimum wage, Misogyny, On Campus, reproductive rights, safety for women, seniors, unfair termination, violence against women
Tagged Courts, discrimination, documentaries, Equal Rights Amendment, gender wage gap, health care, On Campus, reproductive rights, violence against women