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Toledo City Council votes in support of bill aimed at helping sexual assault survivors

"A lot of survivors do not feel comfortable coming forward, especially to law enforcement, because of how the justice system often handles rape and sexual assault."

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday in support of a bill aimed at helping survivors of sexual assault and child abuse.

Toledo City Councilwoman Michele Grim and State Representative Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) said they believe the bill's passage is vital.

It's designed, they said, to eliminate the statute of limitations of rape, extend the period of limitations for child sexual abuse victims and end what officials call a marital rape exemption, which doesn't allow someone to take their spouse to court for sexual assault.

"A lot of survivors do not feel comfortable coming forward, especially to law enforcement, because of how the justice system often handles rape and sexual assault. They're very hard to prosecute, so eliminating the statute of limitations will help survivors move forward and try to get some justice in the justice system," Grim said. 

Sobecki agreed, noting that Ohio is behind other states when it comes to handling these issues.

"The state of Ohio being one of the last states to eliminate spousal exceptions for rape... marriage shouldn't be a get out of jail card for committing rape," she said. 

Sexual assault is currently underreported, Sobecki and Grim said, so they are hoping that if this bill is passed, it will encourage more survivors to come forward and more abusers to be held accountable.

The city council vote has no impact on the legislative process of the house bill; it simply shows that they are in favor of it passing.

We will continue to keep you updated.

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