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A fashion show with an unexpected focus: survivors of sexual assault

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The dress was a collaboration with the artists Suzanne McClelland and Alix Pearlstein as part of their recent series that places text on clothing. In 2019, they created a trench coat with all the questions that were put to Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, in her Senate testimony. In 2020, the artists printed Anita Hills’ testimony against Judge Clarence Thomas on a shirt dress.

As for the Survivors Bill of Rights, it draws on Ms. Nguyens’ personal experience.

In 2013, during her senior year at Harvard, she was raped in her dorm. After obtaining a rape kit during invasive hospital exams that collect crucial evidence in assault cases and speaking with legal advisory groups, she learned two things: that rape trials Often last for years, if not decades, with low conviction rates and, unless a survivor charges, rape kits are often destroyed before even being tested, although the timelines vary by state.

In Massachusetts, where Ms Nguyen lived at the time, rape kits were destroyed within six months, even though the statute of limitations was 15 years. This meant that twice a year Ms Nguyen had to request an extension to keep her kit in the system, forcing her to relive the traumatic experience over and over again.

I just remember feeling so betrayed. Survivors are told to go to the police and go to the hospital to get a rape kit to find out that the system is like a Kafkaesque game of Saw, she said, referring to the franchise of horror films. Why is the deck so stacked against the survivors?

Navigating the labyrinthine process prompted Ms Nguyen to create her organization, Rise, and to lobby lawmakers for better protections. The Survivors Bill of Rights requires that rape kits be kept for a maximum statute of limitations, that victims do not pay a fee to obtain rape kits, and that victims be able to access the results of the rape kit.

Since then, Rise has helped adopt similar protections in 30 states and DC, and in 2018 Ms. Nguyen was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.

Over the past two years, Ms. Nguyen has also spearheaded an effort for a global version of the Survivors Bill of Rights, in the form of a UN resolution to be presented by Sierra Leone. at the General Assembly later this month.

Sources

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2/ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/12/us/sexual-violence-fashion-show-amanda-nguyen-rise.html

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