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amanda.jpg

▲ Amanda Nguyen was featured on Forbes' 2017 "30 Under 30" Law & Policy list.

 

by MONICA LUHAR | FEB 2 2017, 8:38 AM ET | NBC Asian America

 

In 2014, Amanda Nguyen set out to "rewrite the law" on protecting the civil rights of sexual assault and rape survivors through the founding of Rise, a nonprofit consisting of a coalition of sexual assault survivors and allies working to empower survivors. Two years later, in February 2016, legislation she helped draft was introduced in Congress; seven months later, former President Barack Obama signed the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act into law.

 

For Nguyen, the fight to keep survivors informed of their rights and to prevent rape kits from being destroyed has been an ongoing one. Nguyen was raped three years ago in the state of Massachusetts, and although she had a rape kit performed, she discovered it would be destroyed after six months if an extension request wasn't filed.

 

"Every 6 months, I have to save my rape kit from the trash by filing an extension request to make sure that it is saved. I live my life according to the date of my rape to ensure that my access to justice is preserved - 6 months from my rape, 1 year from my rape, 18 months from my rape. These are the dates that must swirl through my head so that I can one day seek justice," Nguyen wrote on her GoFundMe page in August.

 

Frustrated and re-traumatized by a broken justice system, Nguyen met with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to brainstorm legislation that would protect survivor rights on the federal level — the same legislation that is now law.

 

The Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights protects the right to having the evidence of a rape kit preserved without charge for the duration of the statute of limitations; the right to be informed of rights, the right to a counselor, including the right to be informed no later than 60 days before the destruction of a rape kit, among other detailed rights.

 

Since the unanimous passage of the bill, it's been the first time the word "sexual assault survivor" has appeared in federal law.

 

NBC Asian America spoke with Nguyen, who was recently recognized by Forbes as part of their annual "30 Under 30" feature, to talk about Rise, her speech at the Women's March on Washington, and the continuing efforts to protect the rights of all survivors.

 

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW: www.nbcnews.com


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