+
upworthy
Joy

Amanda Nguyen, the rape survivor who rewrote sexual assault laws, shares her story on TikTok

So incredibly powerful.

sexual assault rape

Amanda Nguyen changed the world for sexual assault survivors.

In 2013, while in her final semester at Harvard University, Amanda Nguyen was raped on campus. Like far too many sexual assault survivors, she found herself wrapped up in a criminal justice system that was traumatizing, expensive, difficult to navigate and often ineffectual.

The following year, she founded Rise, an organization advocating for the rights of survivors of sexual violence. She helped rewrite state and federal laws surrounding how sexual assault is handled and played an integral role in getting the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016 passed unanimously in Congress. That act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2016, changed the way rape kits are processed and created a bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault and rape.

But Nguyen didn't stop there. After the successful passage of the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, Nguyen received more than a million messages from survivors around the world fighting for their own rights and protections. She knew she needed to take her cause even wider, advocating for survivors everywhere.


Nguyen knew from personal experience the impact of having face time with decision-makers. When she was trying to get a survivor rights bill passed in Massachusetts, she almost gave up when she was told there was a slim chance of the bill passing. But she got on a plane and met with lawmakers personally, which swayed them to support the bill.

"There's nothing more powerful than hearing it straight from the people it has affected," Nguyen told TIME. "We pushed the boundaries from a 0 percent chance to a 100 percent chance in 14 hours."

Nguyen took that same energy to the highest international body, the United Nations. This summer, Rise set up a powerful exhibition, "What Were You Wearing?", at the UN Headquarters in New York to highlight the problem of victim-blaming that so often follows sexual violence. For six years, Nguyen and Rise have been working toward an international resolution supporting the rights of sexual violence survivors. Finally this month, the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution providing access to justice for victims of sexual assault.

The vote was welcomed by exclamations of joy and relief from audience members. One of those cries came, understandably, from Nguyen herself.

Nguyen shared a powerful video synopsis of her story on TikTok, which has been viewed more than 18 million times. Watch:

What Amanda Nguyen has accomplished is incredible and will make a difference in millions of lives around the world. The tragedy is in how she got to where she is now—both her own experience and the countless stories that have propelled her to work tirelessly for survivor rights.

"I wanted to be an astronaut, I didn't want to be an activist," Nguyen told Euronews. "But here I am."

Nguyen's accomplishments go far beyond the activism highlighted in her TikTok, however. Her bio on her website is a testament to what she is capable of and an inspiration for anyone who has survived sexual assault:

Amanda Nguyen is the founder of Rise, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, and a 2022 TIME Woman of the Year. Amanda’s 2021 viral video ignited a wave of collective action in the anti-Asian hate movement. She made history by drafting and unanimously passing both the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights through the United States Congress and the Survivors' Resolution through the United Nations General Assembly. Amanda’s directorial debut, Everything I Ever Wanted To Tell My Daughter About Men, won Best Feature at the 2022 Cannes Independent Film Festival. She is the lead of Emmy-nominated mini documentary "Rise Above" by Money Magazine. She served the White House, Department of State, and NASA, and is currently an Astronaut-Scientist Candidate at the Astronautical Science Institute. Amanda graduated from Harvard University. For her work, Amanda has been named a Heinz Laureate, Forbes 30 Under 30, Foreign Policy 100, Fedrick Douglass 100, TIME 100 Next, BBC 100, Marie Claire Woman of the Year. She loves bunnies and dogs.

The grandmother was suspicious.

A grandmother always felt her middle granddaughter Lindsay, 15, looked slightly different from the rest of the family because she had blonde, curly hair, while the rest of her siblings’ hair was dark “I thought genetics was being weird and I love her,” she wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum.

But things became serious after Linday’s parents “banned” her from taking things a step further and getting a DNA test. If the family was sure their daughter was theirs, why would they forbid her from seeking clarity in the situation? After the parents laid down the law, the situation started to seem a little suspicious.

“I told my son and [daughter-in-law] that there was something fishy around her birth she needed to know. They denied it and told me to leave it alone,” the grandma wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Follow Bill Nye’s lead and use science to quiet pro-lifers

“Be objective about this. We have other problems to solve, everybody.”

Bill Nye "The Science Guy"

With Donald Trump threatening to reverse Roe v. Wade upon taking office, the need to defend women's reproductive rights has never been more urgent. As other writers have pointed out, pro-life fanatics have the power of positive connotation on their side and use this advantage to demean the valid arguments of pro-choice advocates.

I mean, who would ever claim to be in opposition to life? Only, equating zygotes with adult human beings fails to recognize the science behind conception, as Bill Nye points out in an older video that has recently gained new relevancy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Double H Canine Academy in Louisville, Kentucky is a place where dog owners can take their rambunctious pets and have them turned into respectable members of the family.

However, as you can tell in this hilarious video, not all dogs are meant to follow orders.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Couple who visited all 63 US national parks names which one is the ‘best’

They also listed other awards, such as "most underrated," "most epic" and "most awe-inspiring."

Representative Image from Canva

There's a reason they call it "America The Beautiful."

Longing to visit one of America’s many national parks, and not sure where to start? One traveling couple just made deciding a whole heck of a lot easier.

Matt and Karen Smith have been to all of them. That’s right. All 63 of them. They even survived a plane crash to hit the milestone (more on that later).

In a short and sweet 30-second video posted to their Instagram account, Matt and Karen place certain parks into special categories, like “best wildlife sightings,” “most underrated,” and “most awe inspiring,” all before revealing which park, in their opinion, is “the best of everything.”

Keep ReadingShow less

Tawny Platis's voice acting demonstration is blowing people's minds.

In the age of television, radio, and the internet, we hear voices all the time, pretty much everywhere we go. From advertisements to customer service prompts to video narrations, voiceovers have become so commonplace that we don't give them much thought.

That is, until we see someone actually doing those voices we're so accustomed to hearing.

Professional voice actor Tawny Platis shared a video to her Tiktok demonstrating 10 voices most of us will instantly recognize, and it's as uncanny as it is impressive. She seamlessly transitions from a text-to-speech voice to a "detached casual conversation" voice to a bright "We've got denim for the whole family!" department store voice and more.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Insiders share 'secrets' the average person doesn't know about their industries

From accessing paywalled studies to getting free upgrades, people in various industries are spilling the beans.

Canva

There's a lot of behind the scenes info most of us don't know.

One strange reality of life is that there's a lot that happens behind the scenes of…well, everything…that people simply never know about. I'm not talking about deep state conspiracies here or anything, just normal run-of-the-mill industry secrets that only people who work in those industries knows.

Some of these "secrets" are actual secrets meant to be kept sacred, like how certain magic tricks work. Some are things we don't really want to know, like how the sausage gets made. And some are simply things that industry folks know but don't bother to inform the rest of us about, like the fact that the average movie theater employee really doesn't give a hoot if you sneak in candy as long as you're not obvious about it.

We're all curious, though, about what goes on in the back room, behind the counter, under the radar, etc. So when someone on Reddit asked "What industry 'secret' do you know that most people don’t?" people flocked to answer—and to see what people said.

Keep ReadingShow less