Messmer Column: Protecting Victims

Local Sources- On this week's Messmer Column, State Senator Mark Messmer talks protecting victims.

An important responsibility of the legislature is to put into place laws that are in the best interest of its citizens – both to deter bad actors and to give victims an avenue to receive justice.

Every year, over the course of a legislative session, my colleagues and I craft new legislation and alter old laws to better meet these goals. This year I was proud to support a change in Indiana's rape statute.

House Enrolled Act 1079 clearly establishes that "no means no" in Indiana by changing the definition of rape to include situations where a victim verbally or physically expresses that  the contact is nonconsensual.

Before the passage of HEA 1079, rape charges could only be brought in instances where a victim was threatened, forced or was mentally incapacitated or unaware of what was occurring. The inclusion of lack of consent is a common-sense addition that puts more protections in place for our citizens.

Now, Hoosiers will have legal recourse in these situations and can receive the justice that they deserve.

HEA 1079 was widely supported by the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault & Human Trafficking, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, police and several individual sexual assault survivors and advocates.

This new law reinforces that this behavior will not be tolerated and that all Hoosiers must be treated with respect and dignity.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at [email protected] or by phone at 800-382-9467.