Rich Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

California's Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Is A Landmark Step In The State

By
Ad failed to load

Amidst all the dreary news of sexual harassment and assault coming out of Hollywood, the Golden State got some good news. On Thursday, Oct. 12, California became the latest state to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights, giving much-needed protections to survivors of sexual assault. The bill provides a number of provisions that are designed to make the process of reporting an assault to authorities and pursuing criminal cases easier.

Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), one of the bill's joint authors, tells Elite Daily,

Now, when people go through this experience, they’re going to be supported a lot more, and it’s going to be clear for them what their rights are.
Ad failed to load

The bill of rights passed in California, known as AB 1312, is based on a model bill written by Amanda Nguyen, who founded a nonprofit to secure civil rights for sexual assault survivors after justice in her own case failed in Massachusetts. Nguyen explains to Elite Daily that key features of the bill include the right of sexual assault survivors to know their rights and resources, receive a copy of their police report, access their medical record, receive free showers at medical facilities after a forensic exam, apply a 20-year statute of limitations, and not have their evidence destroyed before that time runs out.

Nguyen's organization, called Rise, pushed through a federal bill with the same name, passing both houses of Congress unanimously and being signed into law by President Barack Obama in October 2016. Since then, Nguyen and her Rise state counterparts have been working to get bills of rights secured in all 50 states. The California bill, jointly authored by Berman and led by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), was passed unanimously in both the assembly and senate in September. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on Oct. 12.

Ad failed to load

Because states' rights can supersede the federal law on this matter, Nguyen stresses the importance of getting separate state-level bills passed to ensure survivors' rights, and says California's is the most comprehensive bill of rights Rise has passed to date.

This bill has particular meaning for California — and not only because it's Nguyen's home state. The Golden State is home to 11 million survivors of sexual assault according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate cited by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Two million are specifically survivors of rape. Assemblywoman Fletcher tells Elite Daily that hearing survivors' stories — including what is often a traumatic post-assault process — was what drove her to work on this bill. She adds,

To keep the victim from being revictimized by never allowing some closure is one of the main reasons I did that.
Ad failed to load

Berman shared Fletcher's sentiment, telling Elite Daily he teamed up with Fletcher after realizing they'd both separately taken up essentially the same legislation. Berman is committed to combating the problem beyond the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights, he says, and his office plans to introduce more legislation around it next year. He says,

A lot of people say, because it’s predominately women [who] are victims of sexual assault, that this is a women’s issue — and that’s not true. This is a man’s issue, because we are the ones [who] are committing these crimes. We should step up and be equal partners in finding solutions to address it.

It was a culmination of things — including the Brock Turner case, which involved a student at California's Stanford University — that pushed Berman to action. Back in November 2016, he was already working with Rise to push for the bill of rights. He says the criminal justice process played a big role, too, saying,

Ad failed to load
More and more sexual assault survivors were coming out and talking about the experiences they had in the criminal justice system as they went through with trying to prosecute a case against their attacker ... [the] process was more traumatic than it needed to be and should be.

And the impact has already been positive. Berman says,

The appreciation that we’ve gotten from survivors who’ve gone through this experience, and had a remarkably difficult experience to have — on top of what was already a traumatic event — it’s awesome to be able to see a tangible impact in the work that we do.
Ad failed to load

Rise has passed bills in a number of states, with 38 states remaining. Nguyen says she's hopeful that the success in California, a legislative powerhouse, will push other states to act swiftly to enact their own bills of rights. Those interested in working to help accomplish this can contact Rise, and more resources for survivors and allies are available.

The good news is that Rise is getting more help. Last month, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic engine led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, announced financial support for Rise to help secure Survivors' Bills of Rights. Nguyen says the organization's support "is a big deal for us on so many levels."

Nguyen emphasizes how important getting these bills passed is in the larger scale of history. She says,

Ad failed to load
I heard from so many people who reached out saying that they needed these rights. There was this moment in history where I actually had a chance to make a difference and solidify a movement. There [are] so many other activists who have worked for decades for me to be able to get to this moment, and I am just so grateful for the decades of people.

There's a long way to go in the fight to combat sexual assault, especially on the prevention side. But in a battleground that is unduly hard on those who are sexually assaulted, a win is much more than just a win. One more state has voted in favor of survivors, and this Californian, at least, is grateful for it.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

The Travel Accessory You Need This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Leaving behind your hometown and exploring the great beyond is one of the most important things you'll ever do in your lifetime. It breaks the monotony of your daily routine, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to appreciate a world c…
By Roya Backlund

6 Commitment-Free Ways To Change Up Your Look After A Breakup, If You Feel Like It

I'm married and not breaking up (I just had to clarify before I get a call from my husband wondering what's going on). However, if for some reason we ever did separate (again, not happening!), I've imagined I'd have this Eat, Pray, Love moment where …
By Stephanie Montes

Here's Everything That's Leaving Netflix In June

Summer is here, and with it comes plenty of opportunity to binge watch more movies and TV shows that we never knew we needed in our lives. May has passed by in a blink of an eye, so I definitely need to catch up on what Netflix is getting rid of afte…
By Kristen Perrone

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett
)}