Slog tipper Emily Steed called State Representative Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) to ask why she was the lone "nay" vote in the House's 96-1 passage of a bill that finally criminalized marital rape in the third degree.
"She kind of hangs herself with her own words, if you ask me," Emily says. "It's pretty gross." Emily forwarded the representative's email response:
Please be assured that as a survivor of domestic violence from my first marriage I thought long and hard about my decision to vote against House Bill 1108 which revises the definitions of indecent liberties and rape in the third degree. This bill requires absolutely no proof that rape occurred—because there couldn't be any—and is specifically NOT about forcible rape.
My concern was that someone could accuse her spouse of 'rape in the 3rd degree' which is not what most people think of when they hear the word 'rape'. This bill is not about physically forced sex. If for example, a husband verbally threatens his wife pressuring her to have sex against her will, that will be a crime. The problem is, how do you prove it? There's no way to prove that. I am concerned that a divorcing spouse could lie about it just to make more trouble on the way out the door.
My second concern is that, as a linguist, I hate it when words are twisted beyond recognition. Rape used to mean rape. Now it doesn't, so we add ridiculous adjectives like 'forcible' to make it clear.
Even though we disagree, I hope this helps to clarify why I voted against the bill. I ran on smaller smarter government and I intend to keep that promise. However, please let me know if follow-up is needed. I would like to sit down and meet with you over coffee sometime if you are interested.
39th District Representative
Scott's office has not yet responded to a request for comment on whether her concern over "trouble on the way out the door" actually trumps the ability for wives to prosecute spousal rapists. UPDATE: Scott has confirmed the email represents her position.