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Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, and Other News

United States Senator microphone and chairThe United States Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that would give sexual assault survivors some basic rights. The bill, known as the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, will go to the House of Representatives next, and if it passes there, could be signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The bill protects rape kits, which preserve evidence that may be necessary for prosecution, from being destroyed prior to the expiration of state statutes of limitations. States would also have to inform survivors 60 days in advance of the destruction of a rape kit. The legislation also prohibits charging survivors for their rape kits, and funds sex offender registry programs.

Introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the bill’s co-author is 24-year-old Amanda Nguyen. Nguyen reported being raped in Massachusetts two years ago, and underwent a rape exam to create a rape kit. She now must request that her kit not be destroyed twice a year, in spite of the fact that her rapist could be prosecuted up to 15 years from the date of the assault.

The bill could serve as a model for state legislation. Much of the legislation affecting rape survivors occurs at the state level.

Multiple Personality Disorder May Be Rooted in Traumatic Experiences

Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity (DID) remains a controversial diagnosis that some mental health experts say is due to high suggestibility. A new study suggests the condition is real for the 1% of Americans who experience it, and traumatic experiences may trigger dissociation and the development of multiple identities.

The Remarkable Shelf Life of the Offhand Comment

Offhand comments, even innocent ones that are only unintentionally offensive, can sting for years. One way to move past these statements is to view the person who said the hurtful comment with compassion, giving them the benefit of the doubt. For some people, letting go of these hurtful statements can actually affect their identity, because an offhand comment may spur change, lead to lifelong grudges, or subtly alter personality.

Drug Used for Pain, Anxiety May Be Linked to Birth Defects

Pregabalin, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain, is also used on an off-label basis to treat anxiety and other mental health symptoms. New evidence suggests use of the drug during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of birth defects. In a study of 656 women who did not take pregabalin while pregnant and 164 who did, women who took the drug were three times as likely to have a baby with significant birth defects.

Why Do Older Fathers Carry Higher Autism Risk?

Research has shown older fathers are more likely to have children with autism, but the problem may not be in their sperm. According to a new study, mutations do not accumulate in older sperm at a sufficiently high enough rate to cause autism. Instead, men at a high risk of fathering children with autism simply tend to have children later in life.

‘They’re Here for Therapy’: Houston’s ‘Rage Room’ a Smash as Economy Struggles

When Shawn Baker lost her job at a hydraulic shop, she had an idea: give people an outlet for their anger. She founded Tantrums LLC, which hosts one of Houston’s “rage rooms.” The facility gives people a chance to smash inanimate objects free of consequence or judgment, and places like it are rapidly increasing in popularity.

Relationships Key for Mental Health Recovery, Says New Study

According to a study of people’s relationships with their therapists, people in therapy cared less about specific treatment plans than they did about the relationship with their provider. The study’s authors hope their research will encourage providers to focus on cultivating strong therapeutic relationships rather than dedicating their time to cumbersome treatment planning.

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  • Annika

    May 27th, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    When I become pregnant I will definitely err on the side of caution and take as little medication as possible while pregnant and while breast feeding also.

  • Mandy

    May 28th, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    If someone can be prosecuted for a sex crime years from now then what sense would it make to have to request that rape kits not be destroyed? Doing things like this, making the victims feel like they are the ones who have to accept all of the responsibility, that is just wrong. They should be made to feel like they are cared about and that everything that can be done is being done to loom out for them and to hopefully one day prosecute their case. Why continue to make them feel like they are the ones who are responsible for having this happen to them?

  • linda

    May 29th, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    It might be wrong to admit that I could need one of these rage rooms in my home lol

  • Creed

    May 29th, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    So let’s say that you make an offhand comment and it hurts someone. You may not have meant for that to happen but it does, so why should you continue to be held responsible for something that you did not even mean? I think that we all get too hurt for the easiest of reasons and it is kind of silly when you think about it.

  • candace

    May 30th, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    So with the older men having the more autistic babies you also have to consider that they are having the baby with an older mother too, so how can you narrow down if it is the older egg or the older sperm causing the upswing in numbers?

  • Laurel

    May 30th, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    it is well past time that US leaders should begin looking at sexual abuse survivors and seeing that they need laws and protection to help safeguard them long after they have survived the crime.

  • Faylinn

    September 29th, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    I know a few people who have suffered from sexual abuse, and so I know that they would be very interested in learning more about this Bill of Rights. I especially think that it is important that rape kids are not destroyed like you mention above. Sometimes, cases aren’t solved until years later or some cases are found faulty too, which is why I think that holding onto rape kits would be in the best interest of every victim out there.

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