Group using Michigan State, Michigan rivalry to raise money to test rape kits

Posted at 8:48 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 08:48:23-04

The Michigan State football team is preparing to clash with the Michigan Wolverines this Saturday. The host of ESPN's "His and Hers" and Michigan State Alumnae Jemele Hill says it's going to be a big game.

"I know, from a football stand point, the teams are in kind of different positions, Michigan has obviously had a terrific season, Michigan State's been a little bit down, but there's still, especially in the state of Michigan, intense interest," Hill said.

And she and the Michigan Women's Foundation are harnessing the power of that rivalry, and using it to raise money to test the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Wayne County.

"What better way to bring the fan bases together," Hill said. "Yes, they can be enemies on Saturday during the game, and obviously cheer passionately for their school, but why not turn that passion into something that can help a lot of victims out there?" The Wayne County Prosecutor's office found the untested kits in 2009, and the community has raised enough money to test 10,000 of them. But groups are still trying to raise the millions of dollars more needed to investigate and prosecute the related cases.

"There's a lot of people out there who have been unable to get justice for those who have victimized them," Hill said. She says justice for victims is a personal fight for her because her mother is a rape survivor and, when she was a pre-teen, someone attempted to rape her. "If you can do anything, five dollars, ten dollars, more than that, it doesn't matter, it's going to do a lot of good," she said.

The University of Michigan's team did raise more money last year, and the team's together raised more than $30,000.

"I felt like everybody won," Hill said. "I know that may sound like that's a cliche answer, but we generated a lot of interest, a lot of really good publicity, and I think, for both sides, we all felt like we were part of something meaningful built around a game that means a lot to us."

To donate to your team click on this link and select either Team SPARTAN or Team WOLVERINE. You have until the end of the week of the rivalry game, October 29, to contribute to the battle.