UPDATE: This petition must get 100,000 signatures by December 24th of this year! Boost this as much as you possibly can and make sure to sign!
In 31 states, rapists are allowed to sue victims they’ve impregnated for custody rights.
There’s a case in Boston, MA right now in which a rapist is taking advantage of this. He pleaded guilty of rape in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 years probation; however, this sentence includes 16 years of family court as well, which the victim must also attend. He’s using this to sue for joint custody of her child and will only withdraw his law suit if he is free from paying any form of child support. This entire sentence seems like much more of a punishment for the victim than it is for the rapist, and for the state to allow such a thing, the victim is suing.
As stated in the court complaint, “Even if the family court ruled in the [victim]’s favor on issues currently in dispute, such as whether the criminal defendant should be granted visitation rights to [her] child, [she] will suffer harm from the constant threat of new issues arising in family court until her child reaches adulthood, including, for example, efforts by the criminal defendant to seek to modify child support orders and enforce his parental rights at the trial court level and on appeal.”
If this woman is forced to attend 16 years of family court with her rapist, she is not only forced to confront a traumatic event that she should never have to deal with again, but she is subjected to the possibility of losing pieces of her child to him over and over again for all of those years. In addition to this constant state of fear and anguish she would face, just by being sent to something considered ‘family’ court—for her and her rapist—she’s being disrespected and her rape undermined by even the suggestion that this is a family situation. By doing this, the law is making felony into family.
In 31 states, rapists are actually given rights instead of having much of anything taken away. In being given these rights, they are being given the chance to further torment the woman and possibly abuse the child. It is not okay to reward rapists and further punish victims, and the ignorance of rape and how our justice system is handling it needs to turn around.
Please sign this petition to ban rapists from being able to sue for custody rights. This issue is so little known, yet so important, and I don’t know any better way of trying to make this change.