Tag Archives: #RapeSurvivor

Do legislators Enable rape?

Indiana State Representative Wendy McNamara

On October 6th, the Legislative Interim Study Committee on Consent in Indiana, comprised of 14 Indiana legislators, and led by Representative Wendy McNamara, proved that legislators give lip-service to the problem of sexual assault, but fail to produce meaningful solutions.

In spite of protests by three legislators from both sides of the aisle, McNamara insisted on filing her committee’s report with NO support for a consent bill. She even refused to include any mention that the committee would continue to research and work toward a solution.

According to The Statehouse File.com from Franklin College, McNamara said: “I don’t think we necessarily gleaned from testimony that we need a definition as a state. I’m not prepared at this time to say we in essence recommend that we have to have a definition.”

Apparently, we need to ask Representative McNamara- “How does an obscure concept of CONSENT possibly convey an understanding of rape to the residents of Indiana? And how do you expect sexual predators to be held accountable when you, as a law maker who your constituents have entrusted with protecting them, knowingly fail to define consent in Indiana’s laws?”

In the upcoming election, voters should be deeply concerned with supporting candidates who fail to pledge to #CodifyConsent. The people of Indiana will know how their candidates stand on this issue because CAN will be tweeting every candidate over the next few weeks. And you, no matter what state or jurisdiction you live in, should do the same….. #WillYouCodifyConsent?

The Consent Awareness Network placed the need for a consent definition in Indiana right in front of the committee members’ noses.

In fact, the launch of the committee’s efforts began with a video we submitted, featuring Weinstein Survivors, Mimi Haley and Tarale Wulff, like this one. Their testimony included the fact that the jury asked for the definition for consent, and that because New York state also fails to define consent in its penal code, the judge simply replied, “Use your commonsense.”

Does McNamara actually believe that each jury should make up their own definition for consent, or should they decide the case based on the evidence presented at trial? How does making up their own definition serve society’s right for the equal protection under the law granted by the 14th Amendment of the United States?

Additional Supports

We also provided the study committee with a well-researched draft bill we’d worked on with the legislators in Pennsylvania, as well as free copies of “Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault.”

Here’s why legislators turn a blind eye to defining consent in our laws:

Centuries of horrifically ignoring sexual sanctity are so engrained in our penal codes that legislators are tone deaf on changing the laws.

Even Greek mythology ignored the concept of consent as in the tale of “Leda and the Swan” in which Zeus takes the form of a swan to have his way with Leda.

Our laws recognize that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement #FGKIA when protecting your property, your medical decisions, your identity on the internet, and countless other things. But the need for applying that same concept to protecting a woman’s body is treated as absurd and unimportant.

Our forefathers, many of whom had horrific records of indecent sexual conduct, fashioned laws with no regard for women, and still do so even though sexual assault can affect men as well. But there are far more voting males who are covert sexual predators, then the amount of voting male victims of sexual assault. To legislators, votes matter!

It’s baffling how law makers rely on the opinions of the legal establishment to determine what harms their constituents suffer.

Behaviors are and should be crimes because of the harm they inflict on society; not the ease or difficulty to prosecute in a court of law. Law makers put more stock in what the legal establishment says about prosecution than what their constituents actually need for protection.

CAN, including Cheryl Carmel, the Foreperson for the second Bill Cosby jury, meeting with Senator Katie Muth in Pennsylvania

The Consent Awareness Network has engaged in efforts to secure appropriate “Consent” language in penal codes in several states including MA, PA, AK, UT, NY, IN, TX, SC, and more. Each legislator we spoke with is clear that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, #FGKIA, but in each and every state, the legislative reliance on the legal establishment is creating an impasse to securing appropriate protections for society. 

Lawmakers did not have to ask permission from the legal establishment to determine what constitutes murder. We all know that the pre-meditated killing of another human being is a crime. The US Department of Justice Statistics tells us that only one third of violent crimes actually lead to an arrest. Despite the difficulty pursuing murderers, we still recognize what murder actually is. Despite the difficulty pursuing sexual predators, our laws must correctly state that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, and that nonconsensual sex is a crime!

Call your legislator. Demand that they #CodifyConsent in your state. If you’d like CAN’s help securing correctly defined “consent” in your penal code, contact us at info@ConsentAwareness.net.

Once our lawmakers get CONSENT right, the legal establishment will have to prosecute or defend sexual assault cases according to the law. Reliance on the legal establishment to create the law is like the tail wagging the dog! In this case, it’s a very complacent, cavalier dog that thinks society won’t recognize how complicit they are in enabling rape.

Stop the ignorant nonsense. Demand that legislators #CodifyConsent today!

Can you help launch “CONSENT” in Indiana?

Your help is urgently needed!

Defining CONSENT in our laws is the critical key to conquering sexual assault, and the legislators of Indiana are examining the definition for this pivotal word for Indiana’s penal code….. RIGHT NOW!

Defining consent in one state, opens the doors to defining consent in every state and jurisdiction across the US and around the world, no matter where the process starts!

The late Ruth Bader Ginsburgs’s words never rang truer than today: “Nothing changes without changing our laws!” You can be part of this monumental, transformational change!

Like every other state throughout the US, Indiana currently fails to define “consent” in its penal code.

Indiana’s legislature has empanelled a legislative study committee to research and file their report on October 6th. Your letters and phone calls to members of the study committee can help this vital effort succeed.

You will find the email addresses and phone numbers below for each member, as well as a model letter to use as-is or modify to your liking.

Viewed by each legislator:

The correct definition for “consent” that CAN has introduced is endorsed and supported by Model Penal Code, Nuremberg Code, and General Data Protection Regulation:

Consent is Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement. #FGKIA.

Failing to include the actual, and appropriate definition for consent in penal codes enables rape mentality and puts every man, woman and child at risk for sexual assault and rape. In the Weinstein and Cosby cases, each jury asked for the definition. Each judge answered- “Use your commonsense.” This same discussion takes place in practically every rape trial.

All victims are entitled to equal justice under our laws. Only when we #CodifyConsent can we establish a consistent definition for judges to convey to each jury in order to hold sexual predators accountable and secure equal justice for all. Defining “consent” makes unlawful sexual conduct crystal clear to each and every member of society.

Please use the list that follows to write and/or call today, and bcc Info@ConsentAwareness.net so that we can track the volume of responses on this important issue.

If you would like for CAN to help you begin the process of defining consent in your jurisdiction, write to us at info@ConsentAwareness.net.

Dear Senator _____ or Representative ______:

Thank you for your efforts, as a member of Indiana’s Legislative Interim Study on Consent, to #CodifyConsent in Indiana’s penal code.

Defining consent as the freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement that it is, will not only protect generations of men, women, and children, but will also serve as a blueprint for appropriate sexual assault laws in additional states and jurisdictions.

No matter how the offender conducts a sexual assault, the victim has a right to equal justice under the law. Only by providing a consistent and correct definition for consent can justice be meted out with an equal hand and can society clearly understand what constitutes a sexual assault.

I look forward to your support for a bill, recommended by your committee, to define consent in the penal code of Indiana.

Sincerely Yours,

Your Name

Your location

List of Legislative Study Committee Members and Their Contact Information

Committee Chair: Representative Wendy McNamara, 800-382-9841, 317-232-9719, h76@iga.in.gov

Committee Vice-Chair: Senator Michael Young, Legislative Assistant Madalynn Conner, 312-232-9517, madalynn.conner@iga.in.gov

Senator Mike Bohacek, 317-232-9400, Senator.Bohacek@iga.in.gov

Senator Justin Busch, 317-232-9400, Senator.Busch@iga.in.gov

Senator Timothy Lanane, 317-232-9427, s25@iga.in.gov

Senator Karen Tallian, 317-232-9404, s4@iga.in.gov

Senator Greg Taylor, 317-232-9432, s33@iga.in.gov

Senator James Tomes, 317-232-9400, Senator.Tomes@iga.in.gov

Representative Ragen Hatcher, Legislative Asst. Jalen Jones, 317-234-3101, Jalen.Jones@iga.in.gov

Representative Blake Johnson, Legislative Asst. RaeVen Ridgell, 317-232-9827, RaeVen.Ridgell@iga.in.gov

Representative Sharon Negele, Legislative Asst. Lewis Ostermeyer, 317-232-9816, Lewis.Ostermeyer@iga.in.gov

Representative Matt Pierce, Legislative Asst. Shelby Baumgartner, 317-233-5348, Shelby.Baumgartner@iga.in.gov

Representative Gregory Steuerwald, Legislative Asst. Andrew Alvarez, 317-232-9620, Andrew.Alvarez@iga.in.gov

Representative John Young, Legislative Asst. Cody Eckert, 317-234-9499, Cody.Eckert@iga.in.gov

Committee Lay People:

Linda Brady, Chief Pobation Officer Monroe County- lbrady@co.monroe.in.us or LinkedIn

Bernice A. Corley- Indiana Public Defenders Council- bcorley@pdc.in.gov or LinkedIn

AmberFinnegan- Executive Director, Jefferson County Court- amber.finnegan@jeffersoncounty.in.gov or LinkedIn

Judge Matt Headly- Indiana Circuit Court, 301 N. College Avenue, Bloomington IN 47407

Randy Koester – Indiana Dept. of Corrections, rkoester@idoc.IN.gov, 317-232-5711

Chris Naylor- Executive Director, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council- ipacinfo@ipac.in.gov or LinkedIn

Legislative Interim Study Committee Staff: Andrew Hedges Esq. : Andrew.Hedges@iga.in.gov

Timing- “The most important piece in reporting sex crimes”

On September 15th, Indiana Representative Wendy McNamara headed a legislative study on CONSENT. One of the presenters, Samantha McCoy from RISE spoke about a case in which the victim was denied justice because she waited a year to take action. The officer told her “The most important piece to reporting is the timeline.”

The reporting timeline affects cases even when the victim reports within the statute of limitations.

Denial of justice is common

In the Harvey Weinstein case, his defense introduced testimony from an expert witness on how memory degrades over time. She ignored the fact that in rape, or other traumatic contact, memories are indelibly seared into the mind. This phenomenon explains why Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could recall details of Brett Kavanaugh’s attack but he, himself, remembered nothing. In a drunken stupor, his behavior, which contained no trauma to him, failed to register in his memory.

After suffering the defiling trauma of rape, many victims simply want to avoid all thought about the incident to restore “normal.” It takes hard work and effort to come to terms with what happened. Overcoming the onslaught to one’s self esteem, destruction of trust, and all the physical and emotional wounds that were inflicted, takes an effort of huge magnitude.

Often, when victims feel ready to pursue justice, our system of justice denies access because the aggrieved is considered to have degraded memory. Here’s the solution…..

Write it down and send a LETTER to SELF!

No matter whether you feel ready or willing to step forward, those feelings can change over time. Preserve your right to be taken seriously by emailing, to yourself, a detailed account of the events. The closer to the date of the actual incident you do so, the greater the acknowledgement you will gain down the road from those in authority. Be sure you hang onto this email by filing it permanently in your system.

Added benefit…..

Trauma scatters your memory. The neuropeptides and hormones that protect your psyche and your body can veil factual awareness from entering your brain in a linear way. One of the reasons the reports of rape victims are treated as “suspect” is because their concepts fail to initially take a linear track. If, however, you write down your account, for your own eyes, you will go through the linear thought process that enables you to assemble the jumbled pieces.

Whether you ultimately decide to go forward with reporting or not, the ability to package your trauma into a document you can file and to revisit as you desire, will help you stop struggling with the memories. It allows you to literally put those memories on the shelf and move past them.

Consent Law Zoom Call – You’re Invited!

RSVP with the words”Consent Zoom” in the subject line to TeamRebeccaSeawright@gmail.com

Join us when we discuss the laws on CONSENT with Weinstein survivors, Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and President of the NY State Trial Lawyers Association, Michele Mirman on Thursday, July 16th, at 7 PM EDT.

Email “TeamRebeccaSeawright@gmail.com” with the words “Consent Zoom” as your subject, to receive the log-in information for this call.

Want to be a part of a transformational change to conquer sexual assault? 

Watch this TEDx Talk and read “Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault.” 

Together, we can make the world a safer place!