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Defense Doctrine allows sexual assault victims to use deadly force

Legislation authorizing the use of deadly force for sexual assault victims was approved unanimously in the House chamber this week.

House Bill 50, known as the 2021 Defense Doctrine, allows victims that have a reasonable belief they are imminent danger of serious sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape to utilize deadly force as a method of self-defense to avoid serious bodily injury and escape dangerous threats to their personal safety.

Recent data from the Tennessee Department of Health reveals that sexual violence is a major public health crisis resulting in long-term societal and economic costs. Approximately 6,177 people were assaulted in Tennessee in 2017, according to the department. House Bill 50 now awaits final passage from the Senate Chamber.

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