Rape and Physical Resistance Legislation
SB 0217 Criminal Law – Sexual Offenses – Physical Resistance
Over the past week, one of my pieces of legislation, SB 0217 (Bill, Fiscal Note) has received much press. The bill, Criminal Law – Sexual Offenses – Physical Resistance, establishes that evidence of physical resistance by a victim is not required to prove that a sexual crime was committed and addresses misconstruction of the admissibility of evidence of actual physical resistance by a victim of a sexual crime.
Given that a victim increases their chances of being maimed or killed, if trying to physically resist the rape, this bill will clarify that a victim of rape does not have to fight the perpetrator or put up physical resistance in order for the court to hand down a guilty verdict. This bill and its cross-file in the House of Delegates through Delegate Kathleen Dumais (Montgomery County, District 15), HB 429 is one of the 2017 legislative priorities of the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW).
Prior to the start of the 2017 Session, I and others, were interviewed by Catherine Hawley, of ABC2 WMAR Baltimore, regarding the bill. Below are news articles regarding the legislation. Updates on its journey through the legislature can be found here.
January 6, 2017 | ABC2 WMAR Baltimore | ”Maryland lawmakers plan to propose bills clarifying state rape, sex assault laws”
February 1, 2017 | Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault | ”MCASA Applauds Bill Modernizing Maryland’s Rape Law – Sexual Assault Victims Will Not Have to Physically Resist”
February 8, 2017 | Maryland Daily Record | “Senate panel weighs bill removing ‘physical resistance’ in rape cases”
February 9, 2017 | Maryland Daily Record | ”Zirkin backs Md. bill to clarify resistance unneeded to prove rape”
February 13, 2017 | Buzzfeed News | "Maryland Weighs Important Changes To Its Rape Laws"
February 13, 2017 | The Baltimore Sun | "Rape and resistance - Will state law regarding sexual assault keep up with the 21st century?"