Wasserman Schultz Urges The Protection Of Rape Survivors’ Parental Rights
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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Each year, in the U.S., there are an estimated 32,000 rape-related pregnancies.
In July, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz introduced legislation to aid rape survivors, who become pregnant, to maintain full custody over their children.
Analyn Megison, a rape survivor, has come forward to share her story with thousands of rape victims Wednesday at the Nancy J. Cotterman Sexual Assault Treatment Center to let them know that there is hope.
“I was raped. I survived. I became pregnant and as a result I now have an amazing daughter that I love with all my heart,” said Megison.
Megison, a graduate of Florida State University College of Law, fought her rapist for custody of her child that was conceived from the rape. Megison hopes that sharing her story will bring awareness as to why laws like Florida’s are so important.
Florida is one of six states that provides rape survivors with the legal action, The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, needed to avoid custody battles with their rapist.
“Love is always stronger than fear,” said Magison.
The Rape Survivor Custody Act would provide incentives to states with protective statutes through a grant program that provides additional federal funding through two programs authorized in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant and the Sexual Assault Services Program.
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is hoping that will change and more states will follow Florida’s lead.
“We cannot allow these survivors and mothers to be further victimized and repeatedly traumatized by their attacker,” said the Congresswoman.
On Wednesday Wasserman Schultz, along with Senator Joseph Abruzzo and Representative Dave Kerner, toured the center to talk about pushing legislation.
Back in July, Wasserman Schultz filed the Rape Survivor Custody Act—an incentive for states to pass laws that allows women to petition the termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived through rape.
In Florida the bill was passed unanimously and Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz hopes that this legislation will transcend politics and everyone will come together in agreement.