National Task Force Against Domestic Violence Urges Marsy’s Law Passage

The National Task Force Against Domestic Violence this week held an event at the state Capitol calling on law enforcement to “stop blaming the victim” and demanding passage of Marsy’s Law for Georgia to provide equal rights for victims of domestic violence.

“We are working nationwide, but especially here in Georgia where we are based, we want to make sure victims have rights and stop getting blamed for being victimized,” said the task force’s director, Sabrina McKenzie. “We’re fighting to make sure domestic violence victims get notifications about the status of their abusers so that they can act to defend themselves – that’s why we need Marsy’s Law for Georgia. It will put rights such as that into the state constitution, where they belong.”

Marissa Alexander told her personal horror story to bring to life the devastating consequences the law can have on victims trying to defend themselves. The Jacksonville, Fla., woman’s estranged husband came to her house eight days after she delivered their baby prematurely. A fight erupted and she retrieved her gun. When he threatened to kill her, she fired a warning shot into the ceiling. No one was hurt but he pressed charged and she ended up serving three years in prison – even though her abuser later admitted he lied when he said she fired at him.

“I believe in the right to protect yourself, and I did that and was prosecuted,” Marissa said. “So many victims have survived and been punished. I want to bring attention to the numbers of victims in epidemic proportions who would benefit from Marsy’s Law.”

Marsy’s Law for Georgia State Director Ann Casas said this effort seeks to make sure victims “are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect throughout every step of the process.” Casas said victims should receive notification at every step of the judicial process and have the ability to enforce their rights if they’re violated. “Those are just common sense rights that are already in statute but aren’t enforceable right now.”