Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. That staggering number is made even more shocking when one learns that victims often never get justice because their rape kits remain untested, sitting on warehouse shelves.
A harsh new public service announcement puts the victims in the place of their rape kits, shelving their stories while their rapists remain on the loose.
In the aftermath of a sexual assault, a victim who chooses to undergo an exhaustive and invasive forensic evidence collection examination — often referred to as a rape kit— expects the kit will be tested and the evidence used to prosecute the attacker. Victims and the public alike assume those kits are tested, when in fact there is a backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits, sitting on shelves in warehouses for months, years, even decades while perpetrators remain free to commit other sexual assaults.
The national campaign, 'Shelved,' was developed by new agency Invisible Man, founded by former Y&R creative Rachel Howald. It was created for Law & Order SVU actor Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation and its End the Backlog program, in partnership with Viacom Velocity. The PSA seeks to draw awareness to the rape kit backlog to encourage legislative reforms to improve the handling of rape kits, to eliminate the backlog, and to ensure it doesn't keep happening.
In the haunting spot, a forklift carries a woman, the personification of her rape kit, past other long-shelved victims of every age, race and gender as she describes the details of her assailant. Her voice is broken but hopeful as she says, “All those details plus the DNA, is enough evidence for you to catch him, right?...right?”
'Shelved' was directed by famed filmmaker and cinematographer, Ellen Kuras, who is best known for her work on the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and recent directing work on Ozark. In an industry where fewer than 7% of directors are women, Kuras is an unprecedented three-time winner at Sundance for Best Dramatic Cinematography and her documentary feature film ‘The Betrayal’ was awarded an Emmy Award and an Academy Award nomination for direction.
Invisible Man: Joyful Heart Foundation 'Shelved'
Founder and President: Mariska Hargitay
Managing Director: Sarah Haacke Byrd
Vice President, External Affairs: Lisa Winjum
Invisible Man (in partnership with Viacom Velocity)
Founder- Rachel Howald
Executive Producer - Lisa Goore
Art Director - Rachel Howald
Copywriter - Rachel Howald
Executive Producer - Niels Schuurmans
Producer - Tony Calandra
Production Company - The Corner Shop
Director - Ellen Kuras
Production Company Executive Producer - Anna Hashmi
Production Company Producer- Jessica Miller
Editorial Company - Rock Paper Scissors NY
Executive Producer - Eve Kornblum
Producer - Lisa Barnable
Editor - Chris Mitchell
Assistant Editor - Tania Mesta
VFX/Flame - Eddie Reina
Colorist - Sofie Borup
Producer- Alexandra Lubano
Music Consultant - Paul Greco
Music - “The Light” by The Album Leaf
Sound Mixing - Tom Jucarone @ Sound Lounge