There are very few issues that are as contentious as sexual assault policy. Sex crimes horrify policymakers, terrify the public and devastate survivors. In today’s climate of increasing fear of sexual predators it is easy to pursue policy options that feel like they should make communities safer. There has been a multitude of legislation proposals considered across the United States, and California, which increase sentencing and sanctions for sexual offenses in addition to restricting everything from where offenders live to the jobs they can hold. Many of these initiatives are useful tools to increase community safety and offender accountability. Some are potentially measures that “send a message” but won’t actually protect our communities.
Anti-rape advocates are thinking about the following as we review this year’s proposed legislation:
No guessing! The threat of new sexual assaults is too serious to risk or gamble on proposals that are not proven to work. CALCASA will support evidence-based policies that have been demonstrated to impact offender recidivism. Let’s spend our resources wisely, focus our corrections and law enforcement resources on the most dangerous offenders, and make a real difference in California communities.
It’s not about one victim – it’s about all victims. Sexual assault policy should reflect the lives and experiences of all survivors of sexual violence. CALCASA will support policy that benefits survivors who have been victimized as children and adults, who are victimized by those they know and by strangers, who are of every gender, immigration status, orientation and ethnicity.
We don’t want our communities to feel safe, we want them to be safe!
It’s time to look deeper than words and evaluate the policy that will make a real difference in California.