Sen. Tom Jensen should explain how criminal laws would have worked better than a protective order for Meghan Wright.
Wright, of Louisville, was 19 and in college when someone she was dating assaulted her. A third of female college students report having been the victim of dating violence. So her experience is not unusual.
There were no witnesses, as is also common. Police told her that as long as it was her word against his, her assailant could not be charged with a crime or prosecuted under criminal laws.
He continued to harass and taunt her on campus. But because they had never been married or lived together, Kentucky law gave her no standing to obtain a protective order.
"We hear these stories every day — especially from young women on college campuses," Sherry Currens, head of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, told The Courier-Journal's Deborah Yetter.
In 44 states and the District of Columbia, Wright could have obtained a protective order. Kentucky is bound to honor and enforce protective orders issued to dating partners by other states. But there was no protection for Wright, now 24, in her home state.
This is clearly wrong.
But Jensen, R-London and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Yetter that "there's a lot of mixed feelings about it."
A bill extending protective orders to dating partners received overwhelming approval in the House for the second straight year during this legislative session.
And for the second straight year, the bill is receiving not even a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Jensen said he and others have concerns about expanding the grounds for protective orders and think that criminal laws are a better option for dealing with dating violence.
As we said, Jensen should explain how criminal laws could work better than a protective order in cases when no charges can be filed because it's the victim's word against the assailant's.
Kudos to Wright who spoke about her experience at a Capitol rally last week.
More Kentucky women should speak out about dating violence — and tell their overwhelmingly male senators to stop denying Kentuckians protections that are available to residents of almost every other state.