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Ohio Lawmakers Vote to Close Spousal Rape Loophole, Bringing Relief to Survivors

Voting to fix a long-standing loophole that permitted spousal rape is a huge step for Ohio lawmakers, and it brings relief to advocates and survivors who have long battled for justice.

With this bill’s passing, Mikayla, whose nightmare of a decade started when she was eighteen, will have reached a significant turning point in her healing process. She sobbed as she described the years of torture she had from her husband, only to be informed that because of her marital status, her suffering did not qualify as rape under Ohio law.

Certain acts, like drugging a spouse or waiting until they pass out, were not classified as rape under the current legislation. Many survivors, like Mikayla, were left without legal remedy due to this gaping legal loophole, which also allowed perpetrators to continue living in impunity.

The state Senate’s overwhelming approval of House Bill 161 is a significant step toward correcting this injustice. The bill makes it clear that Ohio law forbids any kind of sexual assault, regardless of a victim’s marital status. This action is evidence of the legislators’ and advocates’ arduous efforts to correct this oversight.

Former Democratic state representative Jessica Miranda and state representative Brett Hillyer introduced the bill to do away with the antiquated provision that permitted sexual assault against a spouse.

Miranda, who took on the position of Hamilton County Auditor recently, conveyed her happiness with the bill’s passing and emphasized the need of addressing this legal gap.

The bill guarantees survivors greater chances to pursue justice and permits them to testify against their husbands, which is an essential means of accountability and assistance.

It has been a difficult and drawn-out journey to pass this legislation, but its importance cannot be emphasized. Mikayla and other survivors are happy that the agony and injustice they experienced will not befall future generations.

Governor Mike DeWine must now sign the law, and there is a great deal of anticipation surrounding its prompt adoption. The overwhelming support from lawmakers, in spite of significant resistance, shows a shared commitment to protecting survivors of sexual violence and enforcing the law.

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