Rethinking the justice system for sexual assault survivors
Little information is given on how to file an extension request, and makes the survivor relive their rape to the date each time they have to file. Further research shows that there isn’t a single state in the US where the law guarantees retention of a rape kit, even with proper filing. This means millions of rape cases can go unexamined, in a country where there are an estimated 25 million rape survivors according to the Center for Disease Control. The way we process rape cases immediately after, and for the length of recovery needs to be rethought and reworked to put the needs of the survivor at the forefront.
Overcoming fear and shame, Survivor Nguyen gathered friends, acquaintances and advocates into an online network of volunteers who used an online petition and the #RiseUP hashtag on social media to drum up support for a bill to protect the rights of rape survivors. Within two months, Massachusetts lawmakers introduced a bill containing new rights for people who had been sexually assaulted. Police must now either test a rape kit and/or notify the survivor before they can destroy it. Earlier this year, a federal Survivors’ Bill of Rights was approved unanimously in the House, which means that on a federal level at least, sexual assault survivors in the US will find it easier to report and manage their case. More needs to be done on a state level, and Rise remains a solely volunteer-run organization.