A couple of lawmakers promote initiatives to combat violence against women, and hold abusers accountable.
There are two proposals at the state capitol. Madison Democrat Joe Parisi‘s bill — Wisconsin Gender Hate Crimes Act — adds a gender provision to Wisconsin’s hate crimes law.
“Currently race, religion and other categories are subject to enforcement under the Wisconsin Hate Crimes Law. Legislation I’m proposing today would add gender to the hate crime statute and allow D.A.s to charge this crime as a hate crime if they feel it was motivated by the victim’s gender.”
Madison Democrat Terese Berceau‘s bill — Wisconsin Gender Violence Act — would give survivors the right to sue their perpetrators for financial loss.
“Enactment of the Gender Violence Act in Wisconsin will recognize that, one, violence against women is a serious civil rights issue. Two, allow victims to shift the financial burdens of sexual assault and domestic violence back to where they belong — to those who commit the crimes.”
Berceau says sexual violence in neighboring Minnesota costs $1.3 billion a year.
Kelly Anderson, Director of the Rape Crisis Center in Dane County, says violence against women affects more than just the survivors.
“It harms all women, and in fact, undermines the very strength of our society as a whole. In this country over 650 women every day are raped. That’s a women every two minutes in the U.S. being sexually assaulted. One out of six women will be raped in her lifetime.”
Anderson says this wide spread prevalence of such violence is a constant reminder of inequality in our society, and it perpetuates that inequality.
The current statute of limitations for battery is two years. Anderson says victims need time to undergo healing, counseling and support, so the time limit file suit would be increased to seven years.