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News Source: knoe.com
Alabama Court Forces Rape Survivor To Allow Rapist To Have Visitation With Children
rapist visitation children

Alabama Court Forces Rape Survivor To Allow Rapist To Have Visitation With Children

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) - A 32-year-old woman in Birmingham, Alabama says the state's laws have forced her to face the man she says raped her again and again. With Alabama's recent abortion ban, Jessica's story has gotten national attention, showing how the state is failing rape survivors. Jessica asked to have her last name omitted from this story to protect her children.

Jessica says she was continually raped years ago by her uncle, her mother's half-brother. Despite the evidence, including a DNA test, he was never convicted.

"Well, it all started when I was 12 or 13 years old, and he started climbing in my bed at night," she said.

She was impregnated 4 times as a result. At 14, she miscarried. At 16, she had a baby boy. At 18, she had her third child. He later died due to a disease common in cases of incest. At 19, she had her youngest son.

"I literally just felt like I didn't have any options," she said. In another interview, Jessica told The Washington Post she was forced by her family to marry her rapist. That marriage was later deemed illegal by a court due to a "familial relationship."

Recently, her accused rapist has been taking her to court and winning for visitation of her sons. Jessica says she is sharing her story in hopes it brings change.

"You have to stand behind what's right, and you have to stand up for what you believe in. You know, it's been a very long, hard road for me. But it's going to be worth it. It may not benefit my case, but somebody in the future will benefit from this."

"We are one of two states in the Union that do not have a law that terminates the rights of a rapist," said Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D) Jefferson County.

Representative Givan says her fellow lawmakers are wasting time passing senseless bills.

"I think the legislature is failing the women of Alabama. The justice system can do no more than what we enact into law."

The man that raped Jessica still has visitation rights to her two children. The judge told Jessica she'd have to spend 48 hours in jail for each visit she denied her rapist.

Rep. Givan has already taken steps to pre-file legislation for the next session that would strip rapists of their parental rights. For resources for sexual assault survivors call 800-656-HOPE.