President Obama Signs Rape Survivor’s Bill Of Rights Into Law
President Barack Obama has signed a historic law helping protect survivors of sexual assault. This past Friday, the president signed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, legislation that promises rights for people who have become victims of rape reports Mother Jones:
The measure focuses on collecting and preserving rape kits, the forensic evidence collected in a medical examination after a suspected sexual assault. Police enter the DNA collected from rape kits into state and national databases, sometimes identifying and solving other crimes in addition to the initial rape case. Rape kits—more than 100,000 of them, as of 2014—have often languished for years in police warehouses and crime labs, going untested due to a lack of funds and, some argue, contempt for victims. The new law is the first at the federal level to address these problems, protecting survivors’ access to the initial forensic medical examination and instituting measures to ensure evidence of rape is appropriately preserved and tested.
The new law ensures victims of sexual assault will no longer be charged fees or prevented from getting a rape kit examination by law enforcement. Also, survivors must be told of these new rights, whether or not they decide to pursue legal action against the attacker.