This post discusses sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a horrific crime. Survivors of sexual assault in the United States often have to navigate a legal system that is maddeningly inconsistent at best and hostile at worst. The founder of Rise, Amanda Nguyen, decided to do something about that when she experienced it firsthand. She started Rise, an organization working for the civil rights of sexual assault survivors, and wrote a bill with bipartisan lead sponsors Rep. Mimi Walters and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, that Congress passed unanimously in 2016 and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 7, 2016.
Read Amanda’s letter on the Rise site – it’s powerful and inspiring.
As Amanda said last night at an event in Washington, DC, most rape cases are adjudicated at the state level. A federal civil rights bill for rape survivors is an excellent first step, but Rise’s goal now is to pass a similar bill in all 50 states. So far in 2017, they’ve helped pass 5 state bills already.
On March 22, 2017, Funny or Die and Rise premiered a video featuring Tatiana Maslany that highlights the absurdity of the legal and justice system that rape survivors must navigate to advocate for themselves after their assault.
— Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) March 23, 2017
Can a video about the aftermath of sexual assault be funny? If any video can do that, this one does. But it’s not all knee-slapping hilarity – in addition to exposing and highlighting the absurdity of what survivors sometimes must do to make sure evidence isn’t thrown away, there’s a stretch of several seconds of silence after a poignant statement that drives home the point. Just watch it.
Funny or Die made this video happen, so give them some clicks, share the video with your friends, and repost it on social media.
Rise is doing important work and wants you to join the movement. Go to their website and sign up. They can use your help across the country to advocate for the sexual assault survivors’ civil rights bills they intend to pass in every state. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook. And make a donation to support their work.
Tatiana Maslany appeared in this video, which would have been awesome enough in and of itself. But that’s not all. She also flew down to Washington, DC, from Toronto to attend the premiere on the same day she and the rest of the Orphan Black cast and crew wrapped on the series…at 4am.
We’ve been fans of Tatiana’s ever since we’ve watched Orphan Black. We’ve appreciated her portrayal of all the clones on the show, as well as video clips we’ve seen and interviews we’ve read. We think she’s awesome and have thought so for some time.
What has taken our fangirling to a new level is how Tatiana is lending her voice and her star power to this really important issue. She spoke with both passion and compassion about how Amanda’s story had stayed with her, and about how the system that strives to silence survivors of sexual assault needs to be changed. People who have met Tatiana have commented on how she is very genuine and nice, and we’re here to cosign that – it’s true. She didn’t have to, but she hung around the event to speak to fans and take pictures with them until the very last minute when the venue needed to clear the room, and all that despite having no sleep.
— Fangirl Shirts (@fangirlshirts) March 23, 2017
We have loved the show Orphan Black since its first season. It asks many important questions, like – who owns a woman’s body? Who has the right to make decisions about a woman’s body and her autonomy? And while those questions have been asked and explored through the lens of speculative fiction amid a gripping mystery plot and ongoing conspiracy to unravel, the message has been clear. Women own their bodies and have the right to make decisions about them without interference from outside agents – whether that is a fictional world domination shadow organization, or the real-life government.
We were inspired by Rise and by Tatiana’s support of their mission, and we’d like to help. We believe that women should be able to achieve their dreams on an equal playing field. Among the many components of that eventual vision is the right to live free of sexual violence, and the right to have a legal and criminal justice system that protects the civil rights of survivors. So we’re going to donate $1 directly to Rise for every item we sell that was inspired by Orphan Black. It’s one of the more subtle designs we have, but fellow Clone Club members will know exactly what it means.
Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to make this video and this event happen. It was an educational and inspiring night – and will hopefully lead quickly to more needed change.