Amanda Nguyen Takes the Fight for Survivors to the U.N.

Amanda Nguyen played a key role in the passage of the U.S. federal law promoting sexual violence survivors. Her work earned her the Nobel Peace Prize. Now, she’s taking the fight global.

“When the federal U.S. law passed, we heard from over 1 million survivors,” Nguyen told TIME Executive Editor Naina Bajekal Tuesday at Credit Suisse’s Women of Impact event at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “People from all over the world were writing in saying ‘Hey, I’ve also experienced something similar’ or ‘I’m working on a similar law, can we join forces?’”

So Nguyen and her nonprofit Rise have set their sights on convincing the U.N. to pass an international sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights. “The United Nations has yet to recognize rape in peacetime in legislation, in a resolution, and that’s what we’re fighting for,” she said. The vote is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

“We are in a moment of reckoning where we see that our pain really does matter,” she said. “It’s about world leaders recognizing that in order to be a world leader they must recognize the most vulnerable within their communities.”

Nguyen started Rise to help survivors of sexual assault. She discovered that her own kit with evidence she was raped, had about to be destroyed. She said that the Rise organization was instrumental in the passing of 55 unanimous laws.

More recently, Nguyen has emerged as a powerful representative of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community—speaking boldly about anti-Asian hate. She released a viral clip in 2021 about the lack of mainstream media coverage for these events. Rapid response. Joe Biden spoke out on the subject in his inaugural primetime speech as President. “That was not what I had expected. I literally thought I was going to lose followers,” Nguyen says.

Although she had considered staying silent, she realized that speaking up was what was most important for her. “There are two people that we all have to impress in our lives and that’s our 8-year-old self and our 80-year-old self. I felt like those two people would encourage me to speak up and speak my truth and so I did.”

Credit Suisse organized the event in collaboration with TIME. The event also featured South African businesswoman Dr. Geetha Murali (CEO of Room to Read), and Precious Moloi Motsepe, CEO of the education organisation.

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