This letter was sent out in April of 2008 to many Republicans in Congressional District 5 from Nicole Barlow.
I realize you probably don’t know me. But I hope that you will take just a few minutes to read my story.
Several years ago I was being harassed by a man I didn’t know. He followed me to work. He watched me in the grocery store. He was outside my house at night and always lurking wherever I was.
I went to the police and explained how frightened I was. They sympathized but couldn’t help me. You see, in 1990, unless I was physically harmed or verbally directly threatened, the police couldn’t do anything. Their hands were tied.
Then he broke into my home and sexually assaulted me. Sadly, now that I was a victim, the police could do something. But it was too late.
As part of my personal healing process I vowed to do something to change the laws. But no one would help me. I went to community leaders, lawyers and politicians. Everyone was very polite and empathetic, but no one would help me. I had a problem, but no one would do anything - it seemed like I was being assaulted all over again.
And then I met Representative Kevin Mannix.
I had heard he was a fighter and got things done in the Legislature - that he could surely give me some advice on what to do.
Mr. Mannix sat quietly and listened to my story. And he held my hand while I cried. And he empathized. Then he fought for me and thousands of other women by writing, shepherding and passing Oregon’s landmark anti-stalking law.
Kevin gave women the tools to fight back. Now we don’t have to wait for a man to break into our homes and assault us. We can go to the police and they can act – right away – to tell the stalker that their behavior is criminal and that they must stop immediately or face jail.
Oregon’s Anti-Stalking law has now become a model for other states. And thousands of women have been helped. And who knows how many crimes have been stopped because our laws now allow you and me to fight back - all because of one man.
Kevin Mannix is my hero. That may sound cliché, but it is true. When no one would fight for me, Kevin fought. When everyone felt badly about the situation, but did nothing. Kevin did something.
They say actions speak louder than words. Kevin knows that. And we know that. Now Kevin needs our help. I hope you will join me in sending Kevin to Congress to fight for all of us.