Rich Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

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

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,

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,

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,

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

And the impact has already been positive. Berman says,

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

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

5 Trends From The '90s Are Making A Serious Comeback, So Somebody Page Cher Horowitz

I was born in the '90s and my childhood was one Caboodles train case packed with scrunchies and butterfly clips after another. If you could believe it, early '90s fashion is already considered vintage (I officially feel old AF) and according to sprin…
By Stephanie Montes

This New Snapchat Feature Is Going To Make Your Stories Look Even Better

Giphy is officially taking over social media, and I'm not upset about it. After invading Instagram stories with funny animated stickers, the company partnered with Snapchat — and now, we're finally able to fill our Snaps with hilarious GIFs. In other…
By Amanda Fama

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Luckily, It's All Good Things

Pat yourself on the back because you survived not only one but two major eclipses. The last few weeks have been one obstacle after another but you made it. You dealt with the pain, held it together, and prevailed. Now, your February 19, 2018 weekly h…
By Roya Backlund

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

I Tried Vegan "Spacepaste" & It Looks Like Straight-Up LED Lights On Your Face

As you might have noticed, 2018 is the year for glitter. So many brands have been releasing shining, shimmering formulations like they're going out of style. We're not even halfway through February, and Lemonhead LA has already launched the best glit…
By Kim Carpluk

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Everyone Is So Thirsty Over This “Photo” Of Obama With Facial Hair

It's been a hot minute since President Barack Obama left the Oval office (though it feels like ages), and a lot of us miss him dearly. After leaving the White House, the 44th president remained out of the public eye for a little while, decompressing …
By Daniella Bondar

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas