Tremendous Victory in Annapolis

At 1:00 today, SB 107 and SB 175 went before the judicial committee. We were the fifth bill(s) to be presented. I sat in the front row of chairs, directly behind the podium where individuals were giving testimony. In those moments of waiting, I frantically scratched notes, double-check sources and rehearsed my testimony. Sitting on my right was Trooper R- from the Maryland State Police. On my left was his Commander. And on his left was the head of Government Affairs for the MD State Police. They were there to support me and to testify that these bills will make it easier for them to do their jobs. Behind me and to my left sat Vector, quietly supporting me.

After Senators Raskin and Brochin introduced the bills, I was asked to testify. I had three minutes to deliver my story in bulleted points and sparse narrative. As I was speaking, I could hear reactions from the people on the committee in front of me, and the supporters sitting behind me. There were gasps, an, “oh!” and I’m pretty sure I heard a “my God!” It was heartening to hear empathy in the room.

The reactions from the committee were strong.  As more people came up to testify – lawyers, state’s attorneys, domestic violence representatives, the room’s atmosphere grew heavier with the awareness that online harassment and stalking is now a very serious crime and that the current legislation has failed many victims.

After all the testimony had been heard, and I left the proceedings room, I was approached by committee members, senators, other witnesses and spectators. I was called “courageous” “a warrior” and “brave.” I was thanked, hugged and I shook many a hand. I wish I could say I was aware of what was being said, but my vision was blurry, and my head felt like it was filed with cotton. I was dizzy from the impact of what I had just done.

In case I didn’t say it, I deeply thank everyone who was there to support these bills.

And to my friends, family, therapist, schoolmates, Trooper R-, Vector, J!, and Mom and Dad (who listened to the live stream of the proceedings!) I love you all dearly for walking this path with me.  Your presence, words, time, and unconditional love allowed me to carry myself with grace and dignity when I wanted to hide in shame.

Here is a link where you can listen to the judicial proceedings:

I’m going to Annapolis!

Here it is, SB 107 Criminal Law – Electronic Harassment – Penalties, is scheduled to have a hearing in Judicial Proceedings Review in TWO WEEKS!

The Federal Legislation is Also Going Before the Judiciary Committee

More good news:

Sen. Cardin has agreed to co-sponsor federal legislation which would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and it includes the new cyber-stalking provisions I had sent earlier.
S.1925 [112th]
Latest Title: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [D-VT] (introduced 11/30/2011)      Cosponsors: 19
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 11/30/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
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