The former Detroit Lion and wife say combatting sexual assault and supporting survivors is everyone's responsibility.
The sexual assault and harassment of women and girls is not a “women’s issue.” It’s a societal issue, it’s our issue. This was former Detroit Lion DeAndre Levy’s point when he penned “Man Up” in 2016 for The Players’ Tribune. As wife Desire Vincent Levy explains, it was “a call to men to step up and get involved in the fight against sexual assault.”
The article sparked an urge in the couple to get involved on a local level. They started Our Issue, a fundraising campaign to help test the more than 11,000 rape kits found abandoned in a Detroit warehouse – a problem repeated in major cities across the country.
They’ve partnered with Detroit Hustles Harder to produce and sell T-shirts with the phrase “Our Issue.” The shirts feature images from an Eastern Market Mural by Sydney G. James and AskewOne, commissioned by Desire and DeAndre. This is the third round of sales; the first two raised $40,000, and Desire hopes to meet or beat that this time.
They’ll match what they raise up to $25,000 to be donated to Enough SAID – a collaboration between Michigan Women’s Foundation, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Crime Commission to get these kits tested – Wayne County SAFE and SASHA Center, who both focus on survivor support.
Desire, a survivor herself, says, “I do understand that a rape kit being processed is not how everyone will feel justice as a survivor, but for the women that would feel justice in that way, I want to be really supportive of them.”