Democratic lawmakers in Kentucky are demanding that a Republican state senator apologize to a sexual assault survivor for driving her to tears after dismissing her testimony about her rape.
According to the Courier-Journal, Senate majority caucus Chairman Dan Seum (R) listened to victims of sexual assault testifying in support of a bill that would require suspects arrested for felonies to provide DNA samples.
According to the Louisville Republican the bill will only lead to an unnecessary “intrusion.”
“I understand your pain,” Seum told sexual assault survivor Michelle Kuiper and two other people who testified — including a mother whose daughter was raped and murdered. “But I can tell you I have eight children and 21 grandkids, that over the years this government through its intrusion has done more damage to me than all those criminals out there ever did.”
Seum did not elaborate on his personal “damage,” but Democrats were quick to call his comments “shameful.”
“A rape victim brave enough to step forward and share her personal story of a heinous crime should not get a lecture,” state state Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “He should apologize to these people and all Kentucky women who have experienced this horrific crime.”
Kuiper explained that she was the victim of a sexual assault as a college student in 1994, and that her assailant went on to attack other women. According to her testimony, had his DNA sample been collected when he was arrested for a previous crime, those other women might have been spared
Addressing Seum’s comments, she said they left her in tears.
“I was shaken and felt sick after his comments,” Kuiper said in a statement. “Basically, he had told us he had suffered worse crimes than us.”
She added that unless, ” Seum or someone in his family has undergone any of those experiences,” he should support the bill.
The bill eventually passed, 6-4, with Seum voting against it.