OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A domestic violence victim advocacy group took to the capitol steps Tuesday morning to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would help past, present, and future victims.
“There is something seriously wrong. We need to fix this,” said Angel Little with the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 40 percent of Oklahoma women and 38 percent of Oklahoma men will experience domestic violence from an intimate partner.
“I woke up this morning and I took seizure medication,” said Alexandra Bailey with The Sentencing Project. “I will take that medication for the rest of my life because I survived.”
“I think when we know better, we do better,” said Colleen McCarty, executive director of the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
McCarty and other advocates are hoping to spark some change to those statistics.
She and others at Tuesday mornings protest want to see the passing of HB1639, or the Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act.
The proposed law would allow domestic violence survivors who commit a crime against their partner to be given a lower sentence if they can show evidence that the crime was related to their victimization or in self-defense.
“It also should have applied retroactively for any survivors serving time in prison,” she said.
McCarty added that they were told the retroactive language was taken out of the bill recently.
“We just realized how little traction things seem to get and how little seems to happen even though there’s many people advocating for this,” advocate Ashlyn Faulkner said.
Faulkner said her friend’s aunt was sentenced to prison after she shot and killed her alleged abuser when she was allegedly handcuffed in a basement and attacked for hours. Now, she’s hoping this law would change things for her and others.
“If retroactivity doesn’t get added back in all the women’s photos, we have the 150 other survivors they’ve identified, there’s no chance for them getting out,” Faulkner said.
The bill has received bipartisan support after passing both the House and Senate, but it’s yet to be seen if the retroactive language will be added back into it with the legislative session ending soon.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the Oklahoma Safeline at 1-800-522-HELP (7233). Other domestic violence information and resources are available in the files below.