By Jim Roope, CNN
Editor's Note: This story contains content some may find objectionable for younger listeners.
Los Angeles (CNN) - The California legislature unanimously passed a bill last week that would prohibit victims of spousal abuse from having to pay alimony to their convicted abuser. The bill is a result of one California woman who says she was a victim of spousal abuse and the justice system.
[:48] “Four years ago, my husband attacked me. He raped me and I just…it’s hard to talk about,” said 39-year-old mother of two, Crystal Harris.
Harris is a successful financial planner and her husband, Shawn, was a stay-at-home dad raising their two boys. Harris said in the years after their second son was born, her husband began to get violent. First verbally then physically, and as the years progressed it only got worse.
[1:14] “He had been threatening to kill me for months before that and I believed him,” she said. “And so it was the second attack in less than a week where the violence was so escalated that shifted my whole world where I didn’t really think I was going to survive that attack.”
That second attack happened on March 28, 2008. She caught the second attack on tape.
When Shawn Harris was convicted of forced oral copulation, the judge ordered Crystal to pay her husband, her convicted attacker, spousal support; $1,000 per month and to pay his legal fees.
She reached out to the California legislature for help.
[6:59] “I was shocked to learn Crystal had to pay alimony and legal fees to her abuser," said Democratic Assembly Member Toni Akins. “I think that’s the whole point to what led me to picking up this bill and moving it forward.”
The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Atkins says there is every indication he will sign it into law.
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