Letter: Legislature must OK stronger protections for assault victims

I’ve spent the past 15 years advocating for sexual assault victims, and these rights are exactly what we and all victims need. If Marsy’s Law had been in place and communicated when I was sexually assaulted as a teenager, it would have made a difference in my experience as a victim and my quest for justice.

As a mother of two daughters and as an advocate in our state, I want to speak up about the importance of pressing forward in the victims’ rights movement. When voters passed Marsy’s Law in 2017, we made a collective promise and a commitment that the rights of victims would get new and stronger protections in Ohio.

Right now, House Bill 610 is waiting on movement from the General Assembly. This bill implements Marsy’s Law rights for everyone in our state by ensuring the Ohio Revised Code matches the language of the Marsy's Law constitutional amendment. This bill deserves our attention, and it certainly deserves our lawmakers’ attention, those we’ve elected to speak on our behalf and protect the most vulnerable of our society.

The sad fact is many of us will become victims. According to a Bureau of Justice report, there were nearly 6 million violent crime cases in 2018. Whether you’re a victim or someone close to you is, none of us should ever have to worry about our rights being upheld when a person harms us.

Regardless of the crime any individual has faced, each victim should be seen as a hero. We are people of courage, and we aim to persevere in our healing process and fight for justice. I’m asking each lawmaker as he or she returns to work this fall to prioritize implementing Marsy’s Law rights for all Ohioans by passing House Bill 610.

Sophia Fifner, Columbus

Letter originally published in The Columbus Dispatch

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