Today in the House of Representatives one of the best bills of the session was passed on second reading. This bill prohibits a convicted rapist from filing for custody of a child that was conceived during rape. It protects both the mother and the child from continual victimization. The theory behind the bill is that the abuser automatically gives up his right to any children conceived through this illegal act.
Represenative Lois Landgraff and Senator Carroll are truly to be commended for bringing this to the attention of the lawmakers of Colorado. Without this law there is nothing from prohibiting a rapist from filing for custody in 27 states (soon to be 26). At times, for those victims of crime, it can seem as if all the protection against unfair treatment is geared toward the accused or the convicted with no support left over for victims. Our society focuses almost obsessively on the perpetrators with no thought for the victims. We remember dates like April 19th, 1995 and September 11, 2001 and names like Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden and yet how many of us remember a single name of those who lost their lives.
One of the best programs that our Sheriff’s Department does, along with many others, is the Victim Advocate Program (VAP). Victim Advocates are trained to handle situations where there is a death, severe injury, or assault and offer a resource and a voice to victims. This is a volunteer position by in large and often these VAs are called out in the middle of the night for such work. You can get involved by calling your local Sheriff’s Department or Police Department and sign up for their trainings.
Let us not be so cold as to forget those whose lives are altered by crime and who loose a part of themselves in the process. Thank you also to Speaker Mark Ferrandino for ensuring that the bill was on the calendar before the end of the session.