It’s appalling that it’s 2017 and Maryland still grants rapists parental rights.
It’s appalling how the state’s archaic laws force the survivor to share custody of their child with the very person responsible for their ordeal.
It’s appalling how only male lawmakers got to have a say on an issue that concerns women and has lifelong consequences for them.
It’s appalling how lawmakers still need to asses that a rapist should be able to legally involve himself in the life of his victim and her child's.
It’s appalling but it’s still happening.
A Maryland legislative panel, comprising five male lawmakers, has decided to keep in place an archaic law that allows rapists visitation rights.
And this wasn’t the first time Maryland neglected the plight of rape survivors.
For nearly 10 years, state Delegate Kathleen Dumais has been trying to pass the bill to get rid of the preposterous law.
However, she wasn’t even allowed to be a part of the panel that made the decision on her bill. In fact, not a single woman was included in the panel.
“The Maryland delegate has attempted to pass eight previous versions of the bill, all of which failed in the General Assembly,” The Daily Beast reports. “During the 2017 legislative session, the bill seemed closer to law than ever before, with versions passing both the House and the Senate, before a technicality sunk it for the ninth time.”
The decision to keep the law has prompted intense backlash:
REALITY ? In US- 7 states including Maryland can still force a women to share parental custody with her rapist- https://t.co/2BrYDdf4vZ— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) April 17, 2017
MD is one of 7 states ensuring shared custody with rapist. Men ensuring it'll stay that way. Truly unconscionable. https://t.co/lJDYMc1v4O— Miranda Yaver (@mirandayaver) April 17, 2017
WTH. Known rapists are allowed to be around children of their victim & have custody? That's sick. Maryland women need to march in protest! https://t.co/Y058noWKhp— Jan (@SwanWhisperr) April 17, 2017
Any decision that affects women must be made by panels that include women. (That this has to be said is insane.) https://t.co/823h33uQ4s— Pitt Griffin (@pittgriffin) April 18, 2017
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters