House passes bill of rights for sexual assault victims, survivors
Fourth Estate Staff
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Senate and the Congress unanimously passed the bill of rights for sexual assault victims and survivors in order to empower them.
The vote is 399-0 and the bill is called “Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act.” The right includes giving the victims access to their sexual assault evidence collection kit, notifying these victims in writing before the kits are destroyed, giving the victims the chance to request for the preservation of the kits, and informing the victims of forensic exam results.
The bill of rights was passed following the national outrage over the sexual assault of an unconscious woman by a former Stanford University student and swimmer. The attacker, Brock Turner, was recently released from jail after completing a three-month prison sentence. He was supposed to serve six months but it was cut short due to good behavior. The judge who sentenced Turner has faced backlash over the leniency of the sentence.
One of the sponsors of the bill, Representative Mimi Walters, R-California, said that she hopes the bill would serve as a model for the different states. She said that the system now prevents sexual assault survivors from having full access to the justice system. Walters added, “I thank my colleagues for their support and will continue to advocate for the rights of survivors of sexual assault.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte , R-Virginia, also issued a statement saying that the bill would give sexual assault survivors additional rights in seeking justice and help them recover from the trauma caused by the attack.
The Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, California Representative Zoe Lofgren , said that the bill’s passage was a big step towards fixing an “insufficient, broken patchwork that deprives victims of a fair legal process.”
The bill is now to be signed by President Barack Obama for it to become a law.