Dear friends, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received over the past

week. It has been my privilege to work with such a strong and empowered young woman as Lydia Cuomo to ensure that our rape laws are responsive to survivors. Hearing Lydia’s story for the first time truly moved me; her courage in speaking out was a call to action on introducing this bill. Since our press conference in Albany last Tuesday, I have some important updates to share. I am amending my bill to include a contact standard for sexual intercourse, while still maintaining the critical change of calling all rape by its name. In order to be truly effective, the legislation must include both of these elements. As Lydia shared last week, semantics really do matter. Survivors should not be forced into a choice between healing and lowered standards of conviction. They deserve both. That is why I am amending my bill to include the standardized elements of forcible sexual conduct. I am also pleased to share that Governor Andrew Cuomo is supportive of our efforts to find a consensus and will be working with us to help pass this important legislation. The Governor’s continued support will be invaluable as we fight for the passage of the Rape is Rape bill. I urge all of you to not only sign the petition, but to actively share it with friends and family members in order for us to gain as much momentum as possible moving forward. Please write your elected officials as well—standing together with Lydia and all survivors of rape, we can truly make meaningful change with your support. Warmly, Aravella Simotas NY State Assemblymember – District 36

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