Obama Signs Historic Sexual Assault Survivors’ ‘Bill of Rights’

President Obama on Friday signed a historic sexual assault measure, popularly known as the "bill of rights" for sexual assault survivors. H.R. 5578 unanimously passed in the House before moving onto the Senate, where it was passed on Sept. 28. The bill, according to a press release, gives survivors the right to have a rape kit preserved for the length of the case's statute of limitations, to be notified of an evidence kit's destruction, and to be informed about results of forensic exams.

“Beginning today, our nation’s laws stand firmly on the side of survivors of sexual assault,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor who founded the nonprofit Rise, championed the bill and has lobbied for similar measures to be passed in statehouses across the country. “This historic piece of legislation codifies the federal rights of the 25 million rape survivors in America and serves as a model for Statehouses to adopt," Nguyen said on Friday. Virginia passed such a bill this year, and there is pending legislation in Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and Maryland, according to Nguyen.

—Olivia Messer