Woman behind new rape law speaks about legislation

Indiana Statehouse
(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A woman who had been pushing to change Indiana’s law regarding rape received a call from Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday about the legislation.

Pence signed the new bill into law giving victims of rape more time to prosecute their attackers, but there are still some conditions.

The new law means prosecutors can file charges of rape after the five year statute of limitations, but this can only happen under one of three conditions.

  1. If there’s enough DNA evidence to charge the offender.
  2. If there’s enough audio or video recording to charge the offender.
  3. If the person confesses to the crime.

“This gives a victim the opportunity to take it upon themselves to take that time to heal then to pursue their attacker,” said Jenny Wendt Ewing, victim advocate.

Senate Bill 94 also known as “Jenny’s Law” is named after Jenny Wendt Ewing. 24-Hour News 8 talked with her over Skype about the change.

“I was lucky enough to get a phone call from the governor,” said Wendt Ewing. “We had a very lovely conversation that I will never forget.”

Gov. Pence signed the bill into law Wednesday before wrapping up the legislative session. The bill allows for what some people are calling an extension when it comes to prosecuting rape cases in Indiana.

“Ten years ago yesterday, the day the governor signed the bill,” said Wendt Ewing. “I do not think that was a coincidence in no way.”

It was 1995 when Wendt said she was raped and violently attacked while attending IUPUI. Her teaching assistant confessed to the crime last January, but could not be charged because the five year statute of limitations had already passed.

“I just don’t want this to happen to anyone ever again and that was my goal from the time forth and the goal has been met,” said Wendt Ewing.

But Wendt’s work is far from over. She has since moved to Oregon with her husband and is making it a mission to raise awareness.

“Let’s make an epidemic of making a change and bringing everybody together to protect society versus harming society. You know rather than protecting the perpetrators let’s protect the victims, the survivors and the thrivers,” said Wendt.

Wendt said she believes that everything happens for a reason. She told the governor that he signed the bill ten years to the day of her attack. Both had chills from the conversation.

Wendt testified at a legislative hearing earlier this month to extend the statute of limitations of rape cases in Oregon, where current law gives a six year time window.

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