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Amanda Nguyen

For survivors of sexual assault, pressing charges can be a terrifying and confusing process. In some states, survivors have been billed for their rape exams, despite a federal law intended to prevent that. In others, those kits have been thrown out after six months—well before many survivors are ready to press charges. Activist Amanda Nguyen learned this the hard way. After she was raped in her Harvard dorm room in 2013 and forced to navigate what she calls a “legal labyrinth” to seek justice, Nguyen founded Rise, a nonprofit that seeks to legally empower victims of sexual assault. To date, it has helped pass over 25 state and federal laws codifying civil rights—by requiring, for example, that rape-kit procedures be made clear—for more survivors of sexual violence. And Nguyen, who was nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, has sage advice for other young people confronted with injustice: “The most powerful tool we have is our voice.” —Abby Vesoulis

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