Monday, October 31, 2016

WOMEN - Sexual-Assault Survivor Bill of Rights

"The woman behind the sexual-assault survivor ‘bill of rights'" PBS NewsHour 10/28/2016

IMHO:  This is OUTRAGEOUS!  And supports the knuckle-dragging-male view of women as ONLY sexual objects that should not be respected.


SUMMARY:  Rape kits are essential evidence for prosecuting sexual assault.  But in many parts of the country, they're destroyed after six months.  While assault victims can fight to preserve them longer, that information isn't necessarily shared.  It's an issue Amanda Nguyen took to Capitol Hill, yielding the first time the phrase "sexual assault survivor" has appeared in federal law.  John Yang reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  How one woman's struggle to protect evidence in her rape case led to the start of a movement — and now, a new federal law.

John Yang has her story.

AMANDA NGUYEN, Sexual Assault Survivor:  Over and over again, I started discovering is a system that is so broken.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  For sexual assault survivors like Amanda Nguyen, this small box has the tremendous power to deliver justice and bring closure.  It's a rape kit.  Inside are the tools to collect and store the evidence to track down and prosecute an assailant.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  Rape is notorious for being under reported, and it's because survivors are faced with a system that is stacked so high against them.

JOHN YANG:  Amanda was assaulted in 2013 when she was in college in Massachusetts.  Rape kits are automatically destroyed in that state after six months unless the victim asks for an extension.  And how do they do that?

AMANDA NGUYEN:  The catch is that there's no information given on how to extend it, and the greater catch is that there's no way to actually extend it.

JOHN YANG:  Even after she filled out the proper forms, the bureaucratic confusion continued.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  I found out that, against an extension put into place, my kit was wrongly removed from the forensic lab and almost destroyed.  So, even if I have played by their game, it still is broken.

JOHN YANG:  After that, Amanda began asking questions.  She learned that, in most states, police can legally destroy rape kits well before the statute of limitations runs out.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  What that literally means is that, if I was raped in a state that doesn't destroy kits, like California, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, then this wouldn't have happened to me, and it's just because Massachusetts doesn't have those rights.

JOHN YANG:  An activist was born.

AMANDA NGUYEN:  I had a choice.  I could accept injustice or rewrite the law.  And one of these things is a lot better than the other.  My mission is simple:  Fix the patchwork of rights.

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