By Skylar Sigala
As the last day of the Youth and Government competition comes to an end, one of the last bills being looked over by the Hyde Senate was penned by Taylor Ellis, and concerned protecting victims of sexual assault. It requires college campuses to offer victims of sexual assault rape test kits. These kits include standard sexual assault tests such as for DNA and will be conducted by a nurse. The bill received a favorable recommendation.
During the session Ellis explained how her bill would change college campuses. “One out of five girls are victims of sexual assault. Imagine that…We all know five girls, five women, five college students,” Ellis said when delivering her opening statement about her bill.
Ellis went on to describe sexual assault as “an epidemic,” and said, “It affects everyone … Reform for sexual assault on campus is reform for everyone.”
Her bill would require rape kits to be administered by nurses, who must inform the victim when their test is analyzed. Ellis also referenced various incidents when victims of sexual assault were college students, such as a recent incident at the University of Texas as Austin.
“The statistics of the bill are iffy,” said Georgia Cheng, a fellow senator, speaking in opposition to the bill. “What’s the point if many rape kits get tossed out or discarded after being collected?”
Emma LeBlanc spoke in support of the bill. “This bill is a step forward in the right direction. This is what we need to help victims [of sexual assault] feel safe,” she said.
“It’s very interesting to hear the different points people see on how this subject could be handled,” said Julianna Castillo, a clerk in the Hyde Senate. “She brought up an important matter about how girls in college often are unable to speak up about the incidents, and I believe that this bill will help improve the lives of girls in college by knowing that there is a support system that this bill will provide.”