ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York lawmakers joined survivors of sexual assault at the state capitol Tuesday, advocating for legislation that would give survivors more rights.
New York State Senator Kemp Hannon and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas led Tuesday afternoon’s conference. The lawmakers are promoting several measures that would give sexual assault survivors more rights, like authorizing rape kits to be retained in hospitals for 30 years instead of just 20 days, and the right to appropriate health care services at no cost to survivors, including HIV and emergency contraception.
The room fell silent, though, during a powerful speech given by one sexual assault survivor who shared her gruesome story.
Abby Haglage says a detective told her that her rape kit had been destroyed, and she didn’t get as much as a phone call to notify her about it.
“That’s how it’s done in New York. They said overnight, my dream of justice disappeared.
"I’ll never catch my attacker. I’ll never stop him from plucking another girl from that dark corner. New York can do better,” she said.
Lawmakers are also advocating for the creation of a Survivor’s Bill of Rights and creating a rape kit tracking system. They are optimistic Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign new legislation by the end of this session.