August 1, 2013 — Among the many atrocities that were brought to light during the proceedings against convicted rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro, one in particular has caught the attention of Congress.
At today’s sentencing hearing, Castro requested permission to visit the 6-year-old child he fathered through rape. An Ohio court had earlier denied Castro’s request for visitation.
Thousands of rape-related pregnancies occur in the United States every year, and many survivors elect to raise children conceived in rape. In some instances, rapists instigate custody battles or use the threat of assertion of parental rights to further manipulate and victimize survivors.
A number of states already have laws  on the books that prohibit rapists from asserting parental rights, such as custody and visitation, over children conceived as a result of their crime. To incentivize the rest of the country to pass such laws, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Tom Marino (R-PA) just introduced H.R. 2772 , the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act.
“RAINN supports this legislation and its goal to increase protections for children and victims of crime,” said Becca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president for public policy.
Contact your U.S Representative  and urge him/her to co-sponsor H.R. 2772, which will enable survivors to heal and move forward with their lives in the aftermath of sexual assault.
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