DeAndre Levy spent October trying to raise funds and increase knowledge for domestic violence awareness month.
The Detroit Lions' linebacker ended up raising more than $30,000 for the Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit) program trying to test more than 11,000 neglected rape kits and then investigate the findings.
Thank you so much to everyone that supported #ourissue this month! We raised over 30k for Enough SAID! Resources that will be well used. Whether you purchased a shirt, made a donation or just spread the word, it's all very appreciated. A special shout out to @aptemal for their hard work and @itsmedezv for planning and making this possible!
Domestic violence awareness has been an issue Levy has undertaken during the past year both in essays and speaking out publicly to try to raise awareness. The attention he has put on the issue -- either from his voice or the T-shirt campaign with "Our Issue" written on the shirt -- ended up helping.
"There's a lot of effects to it, and this is one of those things where we have to create a culture where we're supportive, men, women and children who decide to report, stand up and say something, they do the right thing," Levy told ESPN. "Their evidence is sitting in a warehouse for 20 years or whatever. ... It's just unbelievable.
"That's something that you really wouldn't believe to be true. I reached out to them earlier this year and this came about later. I saw a lot of the work that they were doing and it just made sense to me."
Peg Tallet, the chief community engagement officer for the Michigan Women's Foundation, which runs Enough SAID, told ESPN it costs $490 to test a neglected rape kit. Tallet said the organization has tested approximately 10,900 of the 11,341 kits that were discovered in the warehouse when the project began five years ago.
So Tallet said the money Levy raised and donated will either finish off the testing of the kits -- or, if the organization finds they have enough funds for that, it'll fund an investigator for potentially a year. Once the kits are tested, the evidence is there, but what the kits discovered still needs to be investigated. Tallet said there are 263 cases currently being investigated and more than 1,100 ready to be investigated.
"If we can fund an investigator for a year," Tallet said. "That could save 200 to 400 women or children from being left out of justice."
Levy initially made a donation on his own in the spring through the Enough SAID website. He then started speaking with the organization, trying to find out what else he could do to help and eventually came up with the T-shirt campaign.