Recently the California Attorney General’s office found that there was “insufficient evidence” to move forward in the De Anza rape case.
Victim advocates and students have sent a variety of comments to CALCASA, about the case:
As a victim advocate, I am very disheartened by the Attorney General’s decision not to pursue the De Anza College sexual assault case. I am even more disturbed by his public assertions that alcohol was one of the reasons he did not see the case as prosecutable. Having worked with over 200 sexual assault victims in my ten-year career, about 85% of them involve alcohol. Indeed, our California State Penal Code 261 states that “rape is accomplished . . . where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating substances and this is known to the accused.” It is also specifically cites the victim being “unconscious” as one of the criteria. I certainly hope that the Attorney General is clear in his future statements about his reasons for not pursuing the case, that of inconsistent testimonies, rather than alcohol being present.
Carr’s statement that “It’s not about what we believe happened or think happened. It’s about what we can prove happened” is all well and good, but is of little consolation to women and past sexual assault survivors. Until we start prosecuting some of these cases, especially the difficult ones, very little will change in the public eye. Unfortunately, some of these “young men” have moved on to bigger feeding grounds—that of our larger universities.
I would like to applaud the efforts of the victim in this case, as well as the three young women who rescued her from the episode. Truly, the greatest self-defense weapon for young women today is other young women willing to help them out. Hopefully, some day the defense of alcohol in sexual assault cases will cease, and we will have someone who will be willing to prosecute these crimes.
Jessica Heskin, M.A.
Victim advocate for a major university
As a student, I was genuinely disappointed today when I learned about the decision made by the Attorney General to not move forward with the current De Anza College sexual assault case. It concerns me that by choosing to not prosecute this case it will send a message to rapists that they will not be held responsible under the law. I am also troubled by the message it sends to women that they are not entitled to the best defense under the law. I feel that until we start taking this type of violence seriously enough to see that it is prosecuted, there will be little hope for reducing sexual violence. It is my hope that as a society we can begin to hold rapists and those who condone rape accountable for their actions, demonstrating that this type of violence is not tolerable. I admire the courage of the women involved in this case that chose to take a stand against sexual violence. My heart goes out to the victim and the women who chose to protect her.
Elizabeth Olagues, Sacramento State University
As a University Health Educator, student advocate and concerned citizen I am disheartened by the Attorney General’s decision not to pursue prosecution in the De Anza College sexual assault case. Working with alcohol education specifically I am very familiar with the California law that indicates that having sex with a person who is unable to give consent (whether they are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, underage or other) is illegal. It infuriates me that this case involves three sober eyewitnesses who can attest to the fact that the victim was a minor and unconscious while members of the athletic team were having sex with her. The Attorney General’s decision has essentially sent a message that states that any woman who drinks alcohol is at fault for her victimization. Alcohol and drug prevention research among college students shows that consistent enforcement of laws and policies is effective in reducing the harm associated with high risk drinking and drug use, including violence. Instead the State has decided to ignore evidence-based practices in AODV prevention and has therefore set a dangerous precedent for all future violence cases that involve the use of alcohol. I will remember the decision that was made when the time comes to reelect our state leaders