Friday, February 13, 2009

In the State Capitol, lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would help victims of rape.

New Bill Revises Law on Rape

A state lawmaker introduced a bill that would revise a law on rape, allowing those affected by this crime to choose not to promptly contact authorities after a doctor examination.

Sen. Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City) said this law would allow women to deal with their health-related issues without prior contact with law enforcement.

According to the 2008 Sooner Safety Report, there have been 10 reported cases of sexual offenses from 2005 to 2007 on the OU campus. But OU officials say many cases go unreported because of the difficulty of describing such a traumatic experience.

Because the offense is so traumatic, the new law would allow women to not disclose the information immediately to authorities and could wait days. Unlike the current law, doctors must report to law enforcement immediately after seeing signs that a rape has occurred.

"This would give women a chance to breathe," Coffee said.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Health Subcommittee. If passed, it will be reviewed by the Senate floor.

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