Proposed law would protect victims from reliving nightmare/ KRQE News 13
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – State lawmakers will consider a bill that would keep victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault from reliving their nightmare once their attackers are out of jail, by giving them permanent no contact orders. It’s called Racheal’s Law, and is inspired by an Albuquerque woman.
The abuse started for Racheal Gonzales when she was 10. She told KRQE News 13 she was 17 when she reported her father.
“First he would come into my room and fondle me, and later on he sexually assaulted me,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales’ father was convicted of criminal sexual penetration and criminal sexual contact of a minor. In 1987 he was sentenced to 42 years behind bars, but with good time, he was out by 2010.
Gonzales said she had to go to court last year and face her father to get a no contact order after he tried to reach out to her.
“It was as if I was re-victimized over again. The courtroom was very small. It was a very confined space,” Gonzales recalled. “All I know is that I do not want other victims to have to go through what I have gone through.”
State lawmakers will consider Racheal’s Law in the upcoming legislative session. It seeks to protect victims of domestic violence or sexual assault from their offenders with permanent no contact orders. It also means victims would not have to be present at future hearings with their attackers.
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. David Gallegos, R-Eunice, back the bill that would amend the state’s Family Violence Protection Act.
“To have a victim having to face the perpetrator over and over again just to have an order of protection, that shouldn’t be happening,” Lopez said.
Gonzales said they are working with New Mexico’s congressional members in the hopes of bringing Racheal’s Law to the national stage.
Gonzales was instrumental last year in getting Erin’s law passed. It requires schools districts to teach kids about sexual abuse, and trains teachers to spot and report suspected abuse.