Rape kits

Federal bill could give basic rights to sexual assault survivors for the first time

Nguyen, founder of Rise, meets with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo courtesy of Rise)

Sexual assault survivors have certain basic rights, the U.S. Senate voted yesterday while approving the Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Act, the first federal bill of its kind. The bill focuses on survivors’ access to test results and rape kits, including the right to receive forensic results from exams, the right to have a rape kit preserved until the statute of limitations expires, and the right to be notified within 60 days of plans to destroy a rape kit so that they can request an extension.

If passed by the House and signed by President Obama, the new law will serve as a model for states looking to craft their own survivor legislation, according to New York magazine. The bill was crafted by New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who worked with 24-year-old sexual assault survivor Amanda Nguyen on the list of rights. Nguyen has been required to return to the state where she was assaulted every six months to prevent her rape kit from being destroyed.

“Basically, I had to pen my own rights into existence,” Nguyen recently told The Guardian. “The system essentially makes me live my life by date of rape.”

Read the full story at New York magazine.

Related:

“Navigating the broken system was worse than the rape itself,” Amanda Nguyen says

Thousands of rape kits go untested across the U.S.

In rural America, women have to travel an hour on average to find a rape kit

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