Rape survivor says Attorney General's "Award" lacks compassion for victims
A woman who survived a rape in 2015 said the Attorney General's Office should reconsider the wording on compensation letters to victims.
Rilla Perkins was raped in June 2015 in Goodale Park. DNA found on her clothes were submitted to the national database, but so far there have been no matches. Last February, Perkins applied for victim's compensation through the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
"Oh, it's a complete slap in the face," she said. "That was just something I was not expecting."
What she calls a slap in the face is one word that appeared in the document 17 times: Award.
"I just threw the packet down," she said. "My heart just sank to the bottom of my stomach and I couldn't believe that that's the wording that they used. Every time I would read it, all I heard was 'Here's an award for getting raped'."
Perkins worries the language could be a trigger for rape victims, saying it could induce depression and suicidal thoughts.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office said it's how it's been written.
In a statement to 10TV, AGO Spokesman Dan Tierney says: "While we find it regrettable that the claimant interpreted the language as celebratory, it is the statutorily required language that we must use and cannot change.The Ohio General Assembly has the authority to change the terms used in statute."
Perkins said she is now taking her fight to the State House.
She's started on online petition on Change.org. So far, she has more than 570 signatures.
She says she's doing more than wanting to change a word. She says she's changing a mentality and a lack of compassion that she lives every day.
"And I shouldn't have to," she said. "No one should have to do that."
Tierney also released this information regarding the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Fund:
"The Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Fund was created in 1976 to help ease the financial impact inflicted on victims of violent crimes. Responsibility for the fund was transferred from the Court of Claims of Ohio to the Ohio Attorney General's Office in 2000. The fund is mostly made up of court costs and driver's license reinstatement fees - no taxpayer dollars are placed in the fund. From July 1, 2011, to February 28, 2017, the fund has paid out $45,783,468.26 for all claims."
Click here for more information on the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Fund.