Benefit Show for Natasha’s Justice Project Will Help Shed Light on Thousands of Pieces of Evidence that go Unprocessed Each Year
(Washington, DC / West Sayville, NY) March 20, 2012 – On April 16, Chinese Menu Comedy, in partnership with the sisters of Sigma Delta Tau at The George Washington University, will host a night of entertainment to benefit Natasha’s Justice Project (NJP). NJP was founded by Natasha Alexenko, a sexual assault survivor whose assailant was identified nearly 16 years after she was violently attacked when he was found through a DNA match. Today, Natasha and NJP are working to end the national backlog of unprocessed rape kits and bring justice to survivors of sexual assault.
“This event is about celebrating survivors of sexual assault and using the healing power of laughter to help raise awareness for an issue that continues to hide beneath a dark stigma,” said Natasha Alexenko. “While it’s a difficult issue to talk about, the silence will only keep people in the dark about the thousands of rape kits that remain untested nationwide.”
The backlog of untested rape kits exists because procedures for processing the kits are antiquated, and funding is often not available. The average cost to process a rape kit is between $800 and $1,200.
“Preliminary evidence suggests that approximately 180,000 rape kits in the United States may remain untested. This means potential evidence lingers on shelves and in warehouses throughout the nation, when it could be used to validate a victim’s claims, identify an attacker or exonerate a suspect,” Alexenko said.
The State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook University has partnered with NJP to definitively and scientifically establish reliable statistics on the actual number of evidence kits that have been collected but not processed in the United States. The research division will also determine the degree of awareness regarding the rape kit backlog in an effort to gain public support for the processing of all kits.
A Night of Comedy to Benefit Natasha’s Justice Project
This one-time-only event will feature comedian Erin Jackson and a performance by award-winning improv duo, ShawnMikael(s). Erin has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live at Gotham on Comedy Central, and was a featured performer on Last Comic Standing. Following the performance, there will a screening of an excerpt from HBO’s critically-acclaimed documentary, Sex Crimes Unit, which features Natasha’s story.
NJP has recently received a matching grant from the Lanza Family Foundation, in which all donations received by August 1 will be matched dollar for dollar. One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds from “A Night of Comedy” will go to Natasha’s Justice Project. Individual donations can also be made directly at https://natashasjusticeproject.org/donate/.
When: Monday, April 16, 2012
7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Jack Morton Auditorium at The George Washington University
School of Media and Public Affairs Building
805 21st Street, NW
Media Availability: Natasha Alexenko is available for phone and in-person interviews to answer questions about the national rape kit backlog. Please contact Brooke Saltzer (firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-427-6496) to schedule.
Tickets: To purchase tickets for this event, please visit http://comedyfornjp.eventbrite.com/.