NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Miles away from the Statehouse, women like Rusty Burdge are watching and waiting to see if state leaders will pass a bill that could help stalking victims.

“For me, obviously it touches my heart tremendously because of my own story,” said Burdge.

It’s truly a miracle that Burdge can now share her story.

“For a year, I was stalked. He broke into my home, slashed tires, did all kinds of things,” she said. “When you go through that for a year, they say the closer and closer you get to the year mark, the closer you are to him being actually willing to kill you, and it’s devastating and terrifying.”

In Burdge’s case, she did everything right.

After filing for divorce, she obtained an order of protection against her abuser. However, that still didn’t stop her ex from reaching out and threatening to kill her.

Now, she is simply thankful for cases like hers being recognized in the state in the form of House Bill 7034.

“Seeing that they are actually going to take it seriously is a huge win for any woman in a domestic violence situation,” she said.

The bill increases the charge for those who knowingly violate an order of protection or restraining order issued in a domestic abuse case based on stalking.

“Every day someone is calling and saying, ‘I saw this person who was abusive toward me. They’re following me.’ That’s really very commonplace. It’s unfortunate but it’s very commonplace to the extent that if we can have something that increases the penalties as I understand this legislation does,” said Sharon Roberson, who is the president and CEO of the YWCA.

The YWCA helps women, girls, and families in Nashville and Middle Tennessee who are fleeing from abuse.

The bill would change the punishment for stalking from a misdemeanor to a felony. It would also require the alleged stalker to undergo mental health treatment.

“We are very concerned that it will get swept away like other legislation. There is so much out there with such a short session, it appears. We wish that more was done in the area of gun violence against victims of domestic violence, but you know we have to take things as they go,” explained Roberson.

If you are in danger, need to speak with an advocate, or have general questions about domestic violence, call the YWCA’s 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline at 1-800-334-4628, or text 615-983-5170.

Find the latest news from the Tennessee State Capitol as WKRN News 2 brings you coverage of the special session. Click here to read more.