State Reps. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) held a news conference today calling for changes to state laws that prevent equal justice for all survivors of rape. The lawmakers are pushing for the elimination of the statue of limitations on all rape cases in addition to making spousal rape and sexual battery illegal in Ohio.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three women experience rape or other physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime.
“This is a constitutional response to an unconscionable problem,” said Johnson. “With every day that passes, another victim of rape or sexual assault is denied access to justice and sexual predators are allowed to roam freely. We will not rest until all victims of sexual violence have equal and unfettered access to justice in our state.”
Victims of rape or sexual violence who seek justice can be prevented from doing so if the statute of limitations has passed by the time the victim is capable of reporting the crime and pursuing charges. While the two women lawmakers commended the recent passage of House Bill 6, which extends the statute of limitations on all rape cases for an additional five years, they believe that Ohio should join the growing number of states where spousal rape is illegal and there is no limit to charging perpetrators of sexual assault.
“Women want to live in a state where they feel safe and are treated equally under the law,” Rep. Fedor said. “It is past time to do away with laws that prevent Ohioans from seeking justice for sexual violence. We need to have a serious conversation in our state about these commonsense reforms that will ensure survivors equal access to justice and put criminals and rapists behind bars.”
The bill’s announcement comes one day prior to The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus Annual Lobby Day.