Mariska Hargitay Exposes 200,143 Untested Rape Kits in ‘I Am Evidence’

Mariska Hargitay in HBO's I Am Evidence documentary
Mariska Hargitay in HBO’s “I Am Evidence” documentary

I Am Evidence, the new documentary about the shocking number of untested rape kits in the US, produced by Hamptonite Mariska Hargitay, will premiere on HBO Monday, April 16. The film is directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir and includes interviews with Cleveland’s Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell, who was instrumental in exposing Cuyahoga County’s backlog of untested kits.

HBO released a new trailer for the film, which also features Hargitay spreading her message in front of the camera, on Monday.

Hargitay, who plays fictional sex crimes detective and sexual assault victim Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, was alerted to the real life crisis—hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits—after fans of the show sent her letters sharing their plight. She began using her considerable star power to draw attention to the problem in Detroit’s Wayne County and continued across the country.

“The rape kit backlog is the most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes,” Hargitay says in the film. Around the nation, I Am Evidence reveals, 200,143 rape kits sit in storage, untested, with police not even trying to solve these horrific crimes. In one city, the film says, “There was just racks in an abandoned warehouse with windows open and birds flying around.”

I Am Evidence debuted to much acclaim at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere on HBO on Monday, April 16.

Hargitay’s 19th season of Law & Order: SVU returned after a break with Episode 14 last night, Wednesday, February 28. Season 19 continues on NBC every Wednesday at 9 p.m. You can catch up by watching full episodes at

Get involved with the fight to end the backlog of untested rape kits, and spread the word by signing up to host an HBO watch party, at

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