US

Rape survivor speaks out against Obama for voting ‘present’ on rape protections bill

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

The lone rape victim who testified before the Illinois Senate on behalf of a 1999 rape-victim protections bill is speaking out against the lone Illinois state senator who chose not to vote for it: Barack Obama.

“I just couldn’t believe it. How could he do that? Thank God for the other [senators] who voted for it. They had a heart. They had compassion that Obama evidently doesn’t have,” rape survivor Michelle Eppel told The Daily Caller after recently finding out that Obama was the one non-yes vote.

“He doesn’t care,” Eppel said.

The bill, signed into law by then-Republican governor George Ryan, affords rape victims the right to request that their cases be publicly sealed after their perpetrators are convicted.

Eppel testified before both chambers of the Illinois legislature. Obama merely voted “present” on the bill while all other senators voted yes.

“I was talking to different senators, different House members, before I came to testify to push for the law. They really listened in Illinois when I testified. I told the truth, and thought, ‘All they could tell me was no,'” Eppel said.

“I was 19. I’m an example that it never leaves a survivor’s mind,” said Eppel, who was raped by a fellow partygoer more than three decades ago and still has lifelong injuries.

“It was 1981. I was at a birthday party. I had some beers, the perpetrator did too. It was safe to walk in those days because in Pontiac there was not a ton of crime. People would leave their doors unlocked,” Eppel told TheDC.

“Right away that next morning it was all about me on the radio. ‘A prominent community girl was raped.’ And then they used my name. Then the talk becomes about the victim. I felt like I was diseased or contagious. People in my community were afraid to talk to me.”

“When I sat in the bathtub [the next day], the water was just pure red from the beatings he gave me. I looked to my right and saw my mom’s razor. I looked at my left wrist. I looked at the razor. I must have thought it would be easy to just kill yourself because I was so overwhelmed,” Eppel said. “But the nuns put the fear of God into me. I was afraid I would go to Hell if I did that.”

“You can never go back to who you were, back to having what you loved about yourself. You miss that about yourself. It never comes back.”

Her perpetrator was sentenced to three to six months in prison after pleading to a lesser crime, with the judge sympathetic to the fact that he was under the influence of alcohol.

Eppel continued fighting for protections for rape victims. The “Michelle Eppel Law,” which forces perpetrators of sex crimes to pay their victims’ medical costs, was signed into law in Illinois in 2005 and officially renamed in her honor in 2009.

Eppel now questions Obama’s manhood.

“How many issues does he push aside as president because he just doesn’t want to deal with it?,” Eppel said. “The people want someone who will fight for them and protect them from harm. Why does he not do that?”

“I do not believe a leader of our country should be someone who has no compassion for someone else as a human being…he doesn’t care…it’s like he’s giving permission for the perpetrators to keep going. He’s not even man enough to protect us. How heartless,” Eppel said.

The White House did not return a request for comment.

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