Civil Rights for Rape Survivors
On top of being able to destroy my kit without my consent, Massachusetts didn’t even tell me how to file an extension request for my kit. I had to figure that out on my own. In the course of doing this research, I found that rape survivors in other states are treated differently. If I was raped in Texas, Illinois, Colorado, or California, then my kit would be preserved. On the other hand, some states hold the kits for even less time than Massachusetts - New Hampshire can destroy kits after only 60 days. Overall, no state has comprehensive civil rights for sexual assault survivors, and the rights given to survivors varies drastically from state to state. Justice should not depend on geography.
When I learned about this I was left with a choice, either I could accept this injustice or I could rewrite the law. I chose to rewrite the law. I founded Rise in November 2014 in order to get comprehensive civil rights for sexual assault survivors in all 50 states and at the federal level. To do this, we created the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, legislation that will provide basic, common sense rights to sexual assault survivors.
Since then, our all volunteer group has gotten our bill passed in the U.S. Senate, and multiple states have passed parts of our Bill of Rights. We are also planning on introducing the bill in another dozen states across the country in the next year.
However, there is so much more work still to be done - we need to get our federal bill passed in the U.S. House before the end of the congressional session on December 18th. We are raising money to turn Rise into an organization with the structure and resources to see this fight through to the finish - where every survivor across the country has access to their basic rights and the standard of justice which is the least that they deserve.
With this funding, Rise will be able to fund sending survivors to share their story with politicians - whether that means flying them to DC to lobby the Speaker to put our federal bill to a vote, or traveling to their state capitol to talk to their personal state legislator. Survivor advocates are the most powerful force behind Rise, and amplifying their voices is crucial to achieving our goals of justice for all survivors.
In addition, if we hit our fundraising goal, then Rise will be able to bring on our first staffer to fight for survivors bills of rights on the Federal and state level, as well as increase our advocacy and awareness efforts to make sure the entire country knows why survivors need these civil rights (You can watch our previous Funny or Die video ). Rise has been able to accomplish so much on a shoestring budget with volunteers working on evenings and weekends, but a full-time staff will add exponentially to our ability to make change and create a larger network of volunteers and grassroots advocates who can get our Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed in every single state in America.
I am attempting to pen my rights into existence along with the rights of the 25-30 million survivors across the United States. Please join our fight.
You can read more about our efforts in The Guardian, The Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor.
Yesterday, the US Senate passed the Sexual Assault Survivor's Bill of Rights - unanimously. The bill is now headed to President Obama's desk to be signed into law!!
Thousands of hours, emails, phone calls, pledges, tears, memos and drafts came together to make history. Our nation is forever changed for millions of survivors of Sexual Assault.
Today, we can declare that we no longer live in a country that accepts mistreatment of citizens when they are at their most vulnerable. We never could have done this without you -- it was you who inspired us, who stood with us, and whose everlasting faith brought us to this moment.
Thank you. I too am a rape survivor when I was in college @ Purdue Univ. many years ago. I was too embarrassed to report, because I didn't remember much. I was drunk, like the girl @ Stanford. I had to piece together the events from others. My comment is that I think you need to explain more about what a "rape kit" is. Since I don't know what a rape kit is, I don't understand the significance of some of the video or need for legislation to not destroy a rape kit. Perhaps you could give more explanation about a "rape kit" to us lay people (even though I too am a rape survivor, who didn't report it). Thank you for the work you're doing.
I have to ask - I see many quotes of you online indicating you knew who your rapist was and declined to cooperate with a prosecution because you were told it would take two years of your time and you were too busy attending Harvard. This prompts me to ask some questions:` 1. If you want to protect other women, wouldn't the most direct way to do so be to cooperate in prosecuting your own case? 2. This GoFundMe page, to me, implies Massachusetts formerly threw away evidence even when there was no person accused. That would mean all the cold case DNA matches would have been impossible. Is that correct,, they were throwing away everything after only six months? 3. To me, it appears you have been put in charge of deciding to prosecute the person you accused - and been allowed to delay that prosecution for up to 15 years - is this correct, you are now effectively the decision maker? Is the long delay consistent with giving an accused person a speedy trial is they want one? I have many more questions but these are the big ones. Thank You.
It is about time.
I think they highlighted a very good point there... making people aware of what exactly a rape kit is, what are some basics they would take/need to process the rape kit will be informative for victims in when they're gathering evidence or so..