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Simotas Addresses MBPO Domestic Violence Task Force

Simotas Addresses MBPO Domestic Violence Task Force

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Published by Aravella Simotas

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Published by: Aravella Simotas on May 03, 2012
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05/03/2012

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 NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYOFFICE OF ASSEMBLYMEMBER ARAVELLA SIMOTASFor Immediate ReleaseApril 20, 2012Contact: Samantha Darche, 917-763-7694
Simotas Addresses MBPO Domestic Violence TaskForce
Stringer, Providers, Advocates Pledge Support for Simotas’ ‘Rape is Rape’ Bill 
On Monday, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas joined Manhattan Borough President ScottStringer at his monthly Domestic Violence Task Force meeting to discuss her “Rape is Rape”legislation with survivors of sexual violence, advocates and public officials. Simotas, speakingduring Sexual Violence Awareness Month, explained that she introduced the bill following the trialof former police officer Michael Pena, who was convicted of criminal sexual act, but saw rapecharges against him dropped.“The importance of calling rape by its name cannot be understated,” Simotas said. “By denyingthis fact, by calling rape something different – predatory sexual act or criminal sexual act –societyfails to validate the victim’s experience and trauma.”Stringer introduced Simotas and announced his support for her legislation. “One out of every fivewomen will experience sexual assault and men are also victims of this crime,” said ManhattanBorough President Scott Stringer. “I commend Assemblymember Aravella Simotas for bringingthis issue to the forefront with her new proposed bill, and for taking the time to meet with myDomestic Violence Task Force, the experts on the ground, to discuss the importance of suchlegislation.”Simotas shared the outrage of many New Yorkers following the Pena trial, and immediately took action to prevent such a miscarriage of justice from happening again. The “Rape is Rape” billdefines rape in the first, second and third degrees not just as sexual intercourse, requiring penetration, but as oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct and aggravated sexual contact.“The image that most powerfully conveys the necessity of this redefinition is what happened to theBronx schoolteacher in the Pena case,” Simotas said. “To be forced, at gunpoint no less, to performoral sex or to be forcibly penetrated anally is rape, plain and simple. You cannot see that vision in

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