This is a big deal, people.
Congress just officially passed the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The bill was spearheaded by Amanda Nguyen, founder of sexual assault organization Rise, in a grassroots movement.
Amanda recently sat down with NPR to explain what exactly that means for rape victims.
“It includes really non-controversial basic things like the right to have your evidence not be destroyed before the statute of limitations, access to medical results from the rape kit or forensic examination and the right to receive a copy of your own police report, the right to be notified of what your rights are in that state because your rights can vary from state to state.”
That’s awesome! But we can’t help but wonder — why weren’t these things in place before? Unfortunately many rape kits have been destroyed before either victims or the police could take any real action. So we’re glad somebody finally did something about it!
Amanda was inspired by her own experiences in which she was raped in Massachusetts. She says,
“My exam was six-hours long. And I walked out of the hospital feeling so alone. And I immediately called legal resources, advocacy centers to try to find out where do I go from here. And one of my calls – this woman on the other line, she had said, you know, just to be honest with you, a rape trial lasts on average two years and be ready to sacrifice, you know, two years of your life for it.
And I had to hang up the phone then. I was fighting so hard to graduate Harvard, and I did not want a rapist to stand in my way. And then from police officers, I learned there’s a 15-year statute of limitations which gives me the option of pursuing justice through the criminal justice system at a point in time when I’m ready. And I decided that this is a route that I wanted to take. And, unfortunately, in Massachusetts, the six-month rule then comes into play that my evidence could be destroyed. And, in fact, I still am fighting for it.”
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.