Triad Weighs In On Controversial Georgia Bill Affecting Rape Victims

6:48 PM, Feb 9, 2011   |    comments
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We're asking the question, "When is a victim of a crime not a victim?" 

A lawmaker in Georgia believes anyone who says they have been injured due to rape, stalking or family violence should be known, not as a "victim" but as an "accuser". 

Representative Bobby Franklin (R) Marietta, wants all the Georgia state statutes to have the word "victim" crossed out and replaced with "accuser", but only when it comes to sexual offenses. Read Georgia House Bill 14 here.

Robbery victims still get to be robbery victims. But rape victims would be accusers. WFMY News 2 called and emailed Bobby Franklin to ask why the distinction. He didn't respond.

So we called two more people--- first, a local district attorney's office.  Julia Hejazi, the Assistant Chief District Attorney in Rockingham County says, "I understand the desire to present law in a neutral way, but to only pick certain areas to change language from victim to accuser seems a bit unusual I don't agree with calling anyone who is victim of a crime an accuser in any circumstances."

And these particular circumstances, rape, stalking, family violence, is sensitive subject matter. No one knows that better than local rape counselors.

Susan Wies, of Piedmont Family Services says, "This really to me trying to be antagonistic to victims and you're the one who is doing something wrong is what that smacks of to me.   
I'm real concerned that if a trend like this started, we'd get even less reporting on sexual assaults."

Wies believes the ripple effects if a change like this went through would be huge, not just in Georgia but in other places.

There is a facebook page dedicated to Bobby Franklin and his quest to get "victim" out of the Georgia state statues when it comes to rape.  It's called Americans Against Bobby Franklin.



WFMY News 2

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