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Amy Stanley, local sexual assault survivor, helps get new law passed where victims can compel attackers be HIV tested

Texarkana Gazette 4/13/21
Photo Credit: KTBS News

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – Amy Stanley was left on a dark street in an unfamiliar neighborhood after being raped and robbed at gunpoint in her own home in Miller County in 2015. On Monday, Stanley was present in Little Rock as Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that gives sexual assault victims the power to compel their attackers to undergo testing for HIV. “I fell through the cracks,” Stanley said of her own case…

Arkansas law currently allows the prosecutor assigned to a sexual assault case to request HIV testing for the accused in sexual assault cases…Stanley said she asked that her attacker be tested but it didn’t happen. The nagging health concern led Stanley to take matters into her own hands and get herself tested for the disease. “I had to do it myself,” Stanley told the committee. “I had to go through the embarrassment, humiliation and the expense. And not once but twice.”…”Had this law been in effect in 2015, I would have had the power to ensure it would be done and I would not have been put through more trauma,” Stanley said. Stanley told the lawmakers that she came before them “on behalf of all of the survivors in the State of Arkansas.”

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Stanley said she was contacted by Laura Abbott with Victims’ Rights Arkansas about speaking to legislators in favor of the bill. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Lanny Fite and Sen. Kim Hammer. “Sen. Kim Hammer, Rep. Lanny Fite and Saline County Attorney Will Gruber fought long and hard for this,” Stanley said. “They value survivors and it’s so reassuring to have people like them in the legislature. I can’t thank them enough for all they did.” The bill means victims of sexual assault can request that their attackers undergo HIV testing within 48 hours of the defendant being formally charged in an information or indictment. Subsequent testing may be ordered for a defendant as well and victims are entitled to be notified of the results. “Victims won today,” Stanley said.

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