Even if you’re a supervillain with plans to destroy the planet, you’re likely to disagree with some of the sexual assault laws in states around the country according to a new video created by Funny or Die in partnership with Rise, an organization working with Congress to pass landmark legislation to protect sexual assault survivors this year.
Rise was started by Amanda Nguyen who had to fight to prevent her rape kit from being destroyed in Massachusetts after surviving a sexual assault. The experience pushed her to change laws in order to protect others and she has been working with members of Congress, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to introduce the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights.
That bill was introduced in the Senate today and Amanda has launched a petition on Change.org to get it passed this year.
What is the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights?
Rise created the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights to ensure basic rights for survivors of sexual assault such as equal protection of survivors in each state, respecting survivors’ personal autonomy and bodily integrity, and reaffirming the right of all survivors to notice, efficiency, and fairness. Once passed, this bill will create a model at the federal level that all 50 states can follow.
What are some examples of rights that survivors don’t always have?
In some states, like Massachusetts, untested rape kits are only kept for up to six months. If the kit is not tested by then, the survivor is required to request an extension. In some cases, those kits have been destroyed without the survivor’s knowledge. In other states, survivors have to pay for their own rape kit.
What is happening at the state level?
One of the states that is already moving forward with passing legislation is Massachusetts, in large part due to Amanda and Rise’s work there. There is a petition started by Martha Coakley, the former Attorney General in MA, calling on state legislators to pass their bill. Survivors in states like Oregon and California are working to pass similar legislation.
How can I get involved?
Amanda and Rise aren’t just trying to start one petition. They’ve launched a movement on Change.org where anyone can start their own petition asking their state lawmakers or campus administrators to improve the rights of sexual assault survivors. You can follow Rise’s movement here: change.org/movements/support-common-sense-rape-survivor-rights
Jon Perri is an Associate Director of Campaigns at Change.org