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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.

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Emergency room nurse Martha Phillips has seen things none of us want to see and heard stories none of us want to hear.

She's watched women brought into the ER after their bodes have been violated, their bodily autonomy stolen from them, their sense of safety and dignity in tatters. She's witnessed the fear and shame of sexual assault survivors as they've had their bodies further prodded and swiped for investigative purposes, and seen them leave the hospital without their bras and panties, having had them taken for evidence—an insult added to the injury they've already endured.

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Protests seem to be sweeping the planet, from Hong Kong to Iran to Chile, over issues from democracy to gas prices to social and economic inequality. Recently, amidst other protests, a powerful feminist movement showed up on the streets of Chile to highlight the issue of sexual violence.

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Facebook / Veve Bee

It's incredible how many myths about the female body persist, despite all of us living in the information age. Young and old, educated or not, we're all susceptible to misinformation — especially when the same false info gets shared widely without question or correction.

Exhibit A: The female hymen.

Rapper T.I. made headlines recently with his horrific description of accompanying his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist to have her hymen checked. According to him and countless others like him, the hymen is a sign of virginity — a gateway of sorts that indicates whether or not a woman has had sex (or otherwise been vaginally penetrated). Popular belief has it that the hymen is a thin layer of tissue in the vagina that "breaks" the first time a woman has sex, so an "intact" hymen is proof of virginity.

The problem is that's a bunch of anatomically incorrect hogwash.

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