Sunday, September 26, 2021


New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.


The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Ohio Bill Would End Spousal Exemptions for Sexual Violence


Tuesday, July 13, 2021   

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A bill under consideration in the Ohio Legislature would ensure relationship status doesn't limit a sexual assault victim's ability to speak out against their abuser.

Under current law, certain sex crimes exempt people who commit sexual violence against their spouses, even though the same actions outside a marriage would be considered a crime.

Rosa Beltré, executive director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said no one should assume spousal rape is within the bounds of socially acceptable behavior.

"'Your body is mine, and I own you as a property,' is the message that we're actually sending survivors," Beltré contended. "And I cannot believe that it's this century and that we're still dealing with that. Marital rape is real, and it does exist."

It's estimated up to one in 10 sexual assaults occur within marriage, a statistic that rises to nearly seven in 10 if domestic violence is already present in the relationship.

House Bill 121 is currently in the House Criminal Justice Committee. Opposing testimony has not yet been heard.

Beltré noted the typical counterargument against removing spousal exemptions is that it would allow a person to make false accusations against their spouse. She pointed out that less than 3% of sexual abuse allegations are false.

"Eliminating that victim-blaming mentality is so crucial," Beltré asserted. "This is not a mechanism for retaliation, and this is not about unwanted sexual contact from their partner."

Beltré added Ohio is one of only 12 states that does not distinguish between married and unmarried victims of sexual violence.

"It sends survivors a message that what is happening to them is not a crime and that it's legal," Beltré stressed. "And then, survivors have trouble identifying that they have experienced sexual violence. It's time for Ohioans to start believing survivors."

Disclosure: Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Health Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …

Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…

According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …


SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. (JP Photography/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021