Democrats call lawmaker's comments following rape survivor's tes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Democrats call lawmaker's comments following rape survivor's testimony 'shameful'

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State Senator Dan Seum made the comments during a committee hearing in Frankfort, which was recorded by KET (Image courtesy: KET). State Senator Dan Seum made the comments during a committee hearing in Frankfort, which was recorded by KET (Image courtesy: KET).
The panel that spoke on behalf of the bill listens to Sen. Seum's comments during the committee hearing (Image Courtesy: KET). The panel that spoke on behalf of the bill listens to Sen. Seum's comments during the committee hearing (Image Courtesy: KET).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A lawmaker's comments in response to the testimony from those affected by rape has sparked controversy. 

The exchange happened at a committee hearing in Frankfort Thursday. Michelle Kuiper was one of the people testified that day. 

"I cannot tell you why I've been led on this path," Kuiper told WDRB. 

Kuiper says she doesn't think it'll ever be easy talking about what happened to her but she's doing it anyway. 

"In 1994, I was sitting on my front porch, a freshman in college, and I was pulled off of it and drug to a neighbor's deck and sexually assaulted," she said at the hearing, which was recorded by KET. 

She was speaking in favor of a bill that would allow the collection of DNA after a felony arrest. Right now, it's only taken after conviction. 

Kuiper was joined by a woman whose daughter was raped and brutally murdered and a man wrongfully convicted of rape. 

All three explained how earlier DNA collection could have changed their cases. 

Kuiper says the man who attacked her may have been stopped before raping other women. 

"But those other girls lives would have been saved and the trauma they went through," she said Thursday. 

After testimony, came questions and comments from lawmakers, including State Senator Dan Seum. 

"I understand your pain, but I can tell you that I have eight children and 21 grand kids, that over the years this government, with its intrusion, has done more damage to me than all the criminals out there ever did," Seum said. 

His comment is now sparking outrage. 

Chair of the state's Democratic Party, Representative Sannie Overly, issued a statement Friday saying in part, "He should apologize to these people and all Kentucky women who have experienced this horrific crime."  

"I'll be lying if I say I wasn't a little disheartened to hear that as a victim," Kuiper said about the remark. 

But she says everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 

She encourages those who don't agree with what Seum said should respond by helping push this bill forward. 

"People need to call in and say they support Senate Bill 150, DNA taken at felony arrest," Kuiper said. 

The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by one vote, according to Kuiper. 

To find out how to contact your legislators in Frankfort about the bill, click here.

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