Utah-After Governor Herbert did the ceremonial signing of the new law, Utah Representative Jennifer Seelig thanked all the Utahns who lobbied for the passage of the “Dating Violence Protection Act”. Seelig spearheaded the recent effort to get the law passed. “This took ten years to pass,” said Seelig who credited a grass roots lobbying effort.
The new law enables a victim in a dating relationship to petition the courts for a protective order if she is hurt or abused by the person she is dating. In the past, the law said only victims who were
co-habituating or married to the perpetrator could petition for protective orders.
The law protects men but by far, women are most often victims in dating relationships. “When we don’t like our partner’s behavior, we have the right to leave,” said Brandy Farmer with the Utah Women’s Lobby.
Farmer, a survivor of domestic violence, said often in dating violence relationships a woman who wants to leave is threatened, hurt or stalked by the perpetrator/dating partner. “Everyone has the right to feel safe,” she added. Seelig said that between 2004 and 2011 fifteen violent dating deaths occurred in Utah.
Keith H. Burgess