NORTHRIDGE, CA – Maryland Governor signed bills making it easier to prosecute rapists and an all male panel failed to end the Rape Custody Bill Tuesday morning.
Maryland changed their definition of rape with SB 217. Maryland rape victims do not need to prove how they physically resisted against their attackers. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a new bill in the second signing ceremony at the State House. Before the Rape and Physical Resistance Bill, victims had to show evidence of trying to physically fight off or show lack of consent to charge perpetrators with rape or a sexual offense. Gov. Larry Hogan signed around 11 more bills with the intention of reforming sexual assault investigations.
BuzzFeed News did an investigation last year and found that some detectives were dismissing rape cases before looking into them. Alleged rapists would never know of the accusation because they would not be questioned by officers. BuzzFeed said cases would be ruled as “unfounded,” meaning false or baseless. Maryland reportedly had 42 unfounded cases. BuzzFeed’s analysis shows that this is an issue across the nation.
The Rape Custody Bill remains the same. Five male legislators failed to pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act on the last day of the State’s General Assembly session. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was introduced by Maryland Delegate Kathleen Dumais. If the act would have passed, women who were raped would be allowed to block rapists’ parental rights. The panel reportedly ran out of time. Dumais has been working on this issue for the last 10 years.
“About 5% of women of reproductive age who are raped become pregnant,” according to The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The assembly will not meet to discuss the proposal until next year in January.
By Lauren Turner Dunn
Contributions from, BuzzFeed, Time, CNN, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Photo, Rolling Stone