Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in terms of how we treat survivors of sexual assault, and a new video from Funny or Die tackles just one of the issues survivors have to contend with when coming forward.
Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany teamed up with Funny or Die for a 1980s-themed spoof that nails the injustice sexual assault survivors face when undergoing rape kit testing. Maslany plays Linda, a woman who recommends a product to her co-worker (played by Tori Anderson), who has to petition the police department not to destroy the DNA evidence from her sexual assault before it's tested for a potential match.
Enter the "Sexual Assault Survivor Utility Belt," Linda's very practical solution. The belt includes "a six-month timer to remind me when to go down to the police station and convince them not to throw away the only DNA evidence for my case."
The idea might seem ridiculous, but it is something assault survivors often have to go through. As the skit points out, the laws for preserving rape kit evidence vary from state to state, meaning that some states have absurdly long backlogs for DNA testing. For example, while New York City took steps to test every rape kit in its backlog, New Mexico's backlog was found to be the worst in the country.
At least the Sexual Assault Survivor Utility Belt comes with a water gun to "spray myself awake when I fall into a scream coma every time I think about how fucked up these laws are," as Linda says.
The video is also part of a campaign from Rise to change sexual assault legislation. Rise, founded by Amanda Nguyen, is a national civil rights nonprofit that worked to implement a Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights.
“I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this campaign. Survivors have already dealt with the most unimaginable trauma, and our justice system leaves them to fend for themselves,” Maslany said in a statement to The Cut. “I hope this video encourages people around the country to get involved and demand that their state legislators pass these critical survivor protections.”