Taking this time to celebrate that Georgia House Bill 51 – which sought to force any victims of sexual assault on Georgia college campuses to go to the police instead of a campus judiciary board if they dared bring a claim of assault forward – was tabled in the last session of the Senate Judiciary Committee. So many people I know worked against this bill’s passage and I am proud to have been one of them, writing to and calling every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to implore them to reject it.
HB51 is a pro-rape bill with an underlying suspicion of women victims and a malevolence toward them meant to have a chilling effect on their coming forward, period. If Rep Earl Ehrhart – who wrote the bill – didn’t know this, then why would he put forth legislation that would ultimately force the male students he claims to want to protect, into the criminal justice system as named suspects? Wouldn’t that be worse? He did it because he knows the criminal justice system fails sexual assault victims and destroys their lives and not the perpetrators. He knows that there would be far less sexual assault claims brought forward than the abysmal numbers we see now. And in his warped thinking, he sees it as a weed out system that will protect “good young men” from women who “cry rape.” (Read one survivor’s distasteful experience with him here.)
Ehrhart cannot persuade people on the merit of his ideas; he must use threats to bring about agreement. He is so widely known as a bully that few will stand up to him for fear of losing critical funding. Again, that is not leadership and it certainly is not a display of good character. To create legislation that sacrifices the well-being of hundreds of actual sexual assault victims each year for preventing the possibility of a handful of false claims (although no hard numbers exist on truly false claims in GA school system), displays his belief the futures of our sons are more valuable than that of our daughters. He not only believes rape myths, he perpetuates them.
As I said, the bill was tabled, not defeated. But I’m going to savor that victory because I tell you, if that bill went/goes through, it would pop up in states across the U.S. and put an unbearable burden on victims. It would make it even easier for rapists to go undetected on our college campuses when they have it so, so easy already.