In some states, a survivor's rape kit gets destroyed without the victim’s knowledge, and Amanda Nguyen, a 24-year-old Harvard alum, is fighting to have the kits preserved and victims’ rights protected. In Nguyen’s case, she had conflicting information from authorities about the storage of her kit, and technicians moved it without her knowledge even though an extension was successfully filed.
Frustrated by the burden of renewing the fight of keeping her rape kit preserved every six months, Nguyen began to do research on legislations that protect victims of sexual violence. After discovering that the laws varied state by state, Nguyen began to mobilize and started an organization called Rise to highlight the discrepancies for rape victims’ rights among the states.
What began as legislation in the Massachusetts State House became the Sexual Assault Survivors Act, a bill Nguyen worked with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to introduce. This bill would allow for victims to have their rape kits preserved free of charge and include notifying victims of information found in the medical forensic examinations. The bill received bipartisan support and was unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate; only 5% of the bills ever get to this stage.
While the Sexual Assault Survivors Act would make a difference on a federal level and in federal court, sexual assault is largely a state issue. The bill Nguyen pushed for can set the precedence for states to model after to protect the rights of sexual assault victims.
Nguyen serves as a deputy White House Liaison at the State Department, aspiring astronaut, and a rape survivor pushing for better legislative changes.
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Viviane is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.