Del­e­gate is work­ing on be­half of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sur­vivors

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s) has strong stances in sup­port of pro­tec­tions for vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and abuse. I am cer­tain that many who crit­i­cize her are well in­ten­tioned in their de­sires to help, but I am equally con­vinced that they are mis­in­formed and con­fused about these laws.

I am con­fi­dent that she has the best in­ter­ests of all of us at heart.

I am a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence com­mit­ted upon me by an ex-boyfriend — in­clud­ing a bru­tal and vi­o­lent rape, stran­gu­la­tion, and at­tempted mur­der. My neck was bro­ken, my head was smashed and I am left with neu­ro­log­i­cal dam­age, trau­matic brain in­jury, and con­stant pain. I was left blind in one eye for over a year and I had to slowly re­learn to talk and walk. I am still un­able to re­sume my orig­i­nal ca­reer in the stress­ful en­vi­ron­ment of the in­ten­sive care and emer­gency room nurse, but am work­ing at a slower pace as a vis­it­ing home health care nurse.

But I am not say­ing all this to get sym­pa­thy — I am a sur­vivor. But I never again want to be a vic­tim of an­other mur­der­ous crim­i­nal at­tack — and I don’t want other in­no­cent, de­fense­less Mary­lan­ders to be vic­tims ei­ther.

Deb Rey was cor­rect in op­pos­ing the re­cent bill that re­quired those con­victed of do­mes­tic abuse and vi­o­lence to turn in their firearms to lo­cal law en­force­ment af­ter con­vic­tion. This bill was well in­ten­tioned but ac­tu­ally in­creases the dan­ger to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sur­vivors. The prob­lem is that cur­rent laws im­me­di­ately pro­hibit such con­victed crim­i­nals from hav­ing ac­cess to firearms, but this law gives our con­victed at­tack­ers two days to turn in their guns.

That’s two days for vi­o­lent at­tack­ers to fes­ter in their anger.

That’s two days for them to pon­der their im­pend­ing im­pris­on­ment.

That’s two days to an­grily plot their re­venge upon their for­mer spouses or part­ners.

Then the law re­quires these at­tack­ers to pack up all of their guns and am­mu­ni­tion in their cars and to drive them to the po­lice depart­ment — but it would be just as easy for the at­tack­ers to drive to the house of their for­mer spouses. As a sur­vivor who was stalked and re­peat­edly at­tacked, this is truly a ter­ri­fy­ing vi­sion for me.

This law is well in­ten­tioned but coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. But as a sur­vivor, I feel cer­tain that it will even­tu­ally lead to at­tacks and mur­ders by con­victed per­son­nel who want to fin­ish off their vic­tims (and per­haps them­selves) be­fore re­port­ing to jail.

Del. Rey drafted and spon­sored a bill on my be­half that would rec­og­nize those of us who have re­strain­ing and pro­tec­tive or­ders against do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. It would rec­og­nize these pro­tec­tive or­ders as “good and sub­stan­tial” rea­sons for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims to ob­tain our Mary­land hand­gun wear and carry per­mits, given that we are well trained, back­ground checked and oth­er­wise qual­i­fied.

This bill did not pass this time, but I greatly ap­pre­ci­ate what Del. Rey is try­ing to do on be­half of those of us who have been vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

We want to con­tinue to be sur­vivors.

El­iz­a­beth Baran, Mar­riottsville

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