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SR-31 (2017-2018)

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SR31:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Resolution No. 31


Introduced by Senator Mitchell

March 23, 2017


Relative to sexual assault.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SR 31, as introduced, Mitchell.

WHEREAS, In 2015, California rape crisis centers provided direct crisis intervention services to 32,931 individuals, provided 7,533 sexual assault forensic examinations, and provided community education for almost 20,400 people; and
WHEREAS, People of all genders and ages are victims of sexual assault, and it is estimated that nearly one in two women and one in five men experience sexual violence other than rape throughout their lifetime; and
WHEREAS, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reports that there are over 22 million survivors of rape throughout the United States with 2 million of those rape survivors are currently living in the State of California; and
WHEREAS, Rape and sexual assault impact people of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds; and
WHEREAS, People of all genders and ages suffer multiple types of sexual violence, including acquaintance rape, stranger rape, sexual assault by an intimate partner, gang rape, incest, serial rape, ritual abuse, sexual harassment, child sexual molestation, prostitution, pornography, and stalking; and
WHEREAS, In addition to the immediate physical and emotional costs, sexual assault survivors too frequently suffer from severe and long-lasting consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, major depression, homelessness, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and suicide; and
WHEREAS, The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified sexual assault as a significant, costly, and preventable health issue; and
WHEREAS, A coalition of rape crisis centers and their allies, known as the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, has emerged to directly confront this crisis with the cooperation of law enforcement agencies, health care providers, institutions of higher education, and other allied professionals from California’s diverse communities; and
WHEREAS, It is our responsibility to support all rape survivors by treating them with dignity, compassion, and respect; and
WHEREAS, It is important to recognize the compassion and dedication of the individuals involved in this effort, applaud their commitment to foster healing, and increase public understanding of this significant problem; and
WHEREAS, It is important to recognize the strength, courage, and challenges of the victims and survivors of sexual assault and their families and friends as they struggle to cope with the reality of sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, It is important to recognize that not all victims of sexual assault survive, either at the time of the assault or later, due to the horrific long-term trauma that sexual assault often inflicts upon victims; and
WHEREAS, There are rape prevention and education efforts underway throughout California to challenge the societal myths and behaviors that perpetuate rape and to engage communities in a common goal of ending sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, It is crucial to hold perpetrators responsible for sexual attacks, and to prevent sexual violence at every opportunity; and
WHEREAS, In 1998, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman after the court determined that, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex”; and
WHEREAS, Enraged by the court decision, within a matter of hours, the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work; and
WHEREAS, Nations and states throughout the world have followed the lead of the Italian Parliament by designating their own “Denim Day” to raise public awareness about rape and sexual assault; and
WHEREAS, Harmful attitudes about rape and sexual assault allow these crimes to persist and allow survivors to be revictimized through victim-blaming attitudes and some unresponsive government systems; and
WHEREAS, California is a national leader within the judicial, criminal justice, medical, rape crisis, and health communities in promoting victim-centered approaches to victims of crime; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, That the Senate recognizes the month of April 2017 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate recognizes April 26, 2017, as Denim Day California and encourages everyone to wear jeans on that day to help communicate the message that there is no excuse for, and never an invitation to commit, rape; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.