Mariska Hargitay's character on "Law & Order: SVU" puts rapists behind bars. And now, the actress is working to do the same in real life.
Hargitay is channeling her inner Detective Olivia Benson to help get thousands of unprocessed rape kits in Detroit evaluated after they've been backlogged and forgotten for years. (Via NBC / "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit")
MLive reports the actress joined Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday to announce a new push for state legislature that would set guidelines and deadlines for rape kit tests to be processed.
"And we're essentially saying to rapists, 'Hey, come rape. You know, you won't be prosecuted, no one even cares.'" (Via WDIV)
According to WXYZ, back in 2009, more than 11,000 sexual assault kits were found abandoned in a Detroit police storage facility. Some were more than a decade old.
Since then, more than 1,500 rape kits have been processed, resulting in the identification of about 100 serial rapists and 10 already convicted rapists.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the new legislation both Worthy and Hargitay are fighting to implement would provide faster rape kit processing and give victims more input as well.
Hargitay is no stranger to helping victims like the ones seen on "SVU." Back in 2004, she started the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps battered women, sexual abuse victims and abused children.
And now, on top of advocating for rape kit reform, Entertainment Weekly reports the actress is also producing a new documentary called "Shelved" that will focus on the backlogging in Detroit.
The new rape kit legislation could reportedly be introduced later this month.