Evan Rachel Wood’s domestic violence bill was just signed into law
This post discusses domestic violence and sexual assault.
Evan Rachel Wood never wants another survivor of domestic violence to be met with the same procedural roadblocks she was. The Westworld actress and activist spearheaded The Phoenix Act, which extends the statute of limitations for reporting and charging domestic violence crimes. On October 10th, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law, giving survivors more time to come back from their trauma.
The new law changes the statute of limitations on domestic violence crimes from three to five years. It also creates new training requirements to help police support survivors.
Wood has been candid about her own experience with domestic assault. In her February 2018 Congressional testimony in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, Wood opened up about being repeatedly abused and raped by a former partner, as well why she refused to name her abuser. Woods said she experienced PTSD, addiction, depression, self-harm, and agoraphobia in the wake of her trauma, according to a transcript.
"I was ready to go to my grave with what had happened to me, until I realized that the person who had hurt me had also hurt a number of other women," Wood told People on October 10th. "That changed everything for me."
However, when Wood did try to report the abuse, she was told the statute of limitations had expired, and that there was nothing the police could do. Wood sought to protect other survivors from that same experience.
“I said, ‘That doesn’t sound right. Something’s wrong, what are my options?’ They said, ‘Well, you can try to change the law,’” she told People.
She collaborated with Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Senator Susan Rubio on the bill, which is now a law. And the name held particular importance for Wood.
“My goal in doing this was to make sure that what happened to me couldn’t happen to anybody else, if they were in my situation. And to start a dialogue that we so desperately need, because it’s a global epidemic, and it affects men and women and children, said Wood to People. “Bad things can happen to you, but you can rise out of the ashes. That is exactly why I named it the Phoenix Act. I do believe that you can come back from tragedy, sometimes even stronger than you were before.
We’re grateful for Evan Rachel Wood’s work to help other survivors, and we hope that it results in other states following suit, as well as a deeper understanding of the trauma that comes with surviving domestic assault.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence and need help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You are not alone.