September 23, 2019

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The Promise of Protection for Sexual Assault Survivors

3/2/2017

Megan is a university student who was wrongfully denied the protection she sought - the protection she needed - from a Washington court.

 

When she asked the court for a sexual assault protection order (SAPO), Megan provided uncontested evidence of the campus assault. She also explained that she was afraid of the man, since her only interaction with him was a sexual encounter to which she said she did not consent. But the court denied her petition for lack of proof that she had a reasonable fear that he would be a danger to her in the future.

 

Legal Voice spoke up, arguing that the SAPO statute requires the survivor to prove only that the assault occurred - not that she has a "reasonable fear" of future dangerous acts. The Appeals Court agreed with us. But unfortunately, Megan's assailant has appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court, claiming the statute denies him due process.

 

The venue may have changed, but our argument remains steadfast. We know that requiring a survivor to specify statements or conduct beyond the sexual assault undermines the promise of protection and the true intention of the law.

 

So we again raised our voice, and are standing with Megan and all survivors who are wrongfully denied protection. We will keep you updated on this case as it moves forward, with argument scheduled later this month.

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