NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx school teacher, attacked at gunpoint by an off-duty police officer last year, wants the state to change its rape laws.
Allowing her name to be used for the first time, Lydia Cuomo, 26, is headed to Albany to talk to lawmakers about changing the meaning of the word "rape."
Lydia Cuomo — no relation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo — wants forced anal and oral sex to be classified as rape under the law.
"Right is right," Lydia Cuomo told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider. "And he raped me at the end of the day, and he's not being called a rapist. He is a rapist, and you need to call rape, rape."
Cuomo said those two acts right now fall under the umbrella words of "sexual assault" and she said that is erroneous because it makes it sound like the attack wasn't so bad."Sexual assault sounds so vague and I don't think the word 'sexual' should be involved in it at all. There's nothing sexual about it — detest, disgusting violation of someone," Cuomo told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.
Michael Pena, a former New York City cop, was convicted of forcing anal and oral sex on Cuomo at gunpoint, but he was not convicted of rape — though he admitted to rape months after a jury deadlocked on the charge.
"It put me in one of the worst places I'd been since the attack happened," Cuomo told Schneider.
In addition, Pena was also sentenced to 10 years to life after admitting to rape.
Cuomo said she wants Pena called a rapist because she said that is what he is, and it's not just a question of semantics.
"Survivors and victims who had this happen to them, your mind plays a lot of tricks on you. You go back to those moments over and over and over again and it doesn't help when legally the terminology surrounding it is not what you want to call it," Cuomo said.