Spousal Rape (AB 1171) Bill Supported by DA Verber Salazar signed by the Governor
(Sacramento)-On Thursday, October 7, California Governor Newsom signed AB 1171 that modernizes California's spousal rape law. A strong coalition of woman's justice advocates and reform-minded prosecutors joined bill author and Chair of Legislative Woman's Caucus Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens) in celebrating the signature, "From the beginning of our efforts, we have been clear that rape is rape. And a marriage license is not an excuse for committing one of society's most violent and sadistic crimes. AB 1171 will put the power of the law to help enforce that truth!" said Assembly member Garcia.
The bill has been supported by instrumental advocates Michele Dauber and the Enough Is Enough Voter Project, California National Organization for Women, Feminist Majority, and several California District Attorneys including Los Angeles County DA, George Gascon, San Joaquin County DA, Tori Verber Salazar, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Contra Costa County DA, Diane Bectin, and Santa Clara County DA, Jeff Rosen.
"AB 1171 will give victims of rape, irrespective of marital status, hope that crimes committed against them will be justly punished. Rape is rape, and we must continue to fight for our survivors, regardless of who victimized them," said San Joaquin District Attorney Verber Salazar.
"This bill will ensure that our laws protect all victims of sexual abuse and that rape committed against a spouse is treated just as seriously under the law as rape against any other victim," said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. "I support AB 1171 to bring about necessary protections for domestic violence victims who suffer sexual abuse and hold those who commit spousal rape accountable."
AB 1171, will bring parity to California's rape statutes by requiring the same standards for "spousal rape" that is currently in the penal code for rape. The bill eliminates the "spousal rape exception" in the California Penal Code (Section 262) to ensure that "spousal rape" is treated and punished, as seriously as the rape of a non-spouse. Although "spousal rape" is illegal in all 50 states, California is one of nine states that distinguishes "spousal rape" from "rape." Idaho and Ohio have recently passed Spousal Rape reform bills.
"Rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between the rapist and a victim," says co-author Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose). "The idea that marital rape should be punished less severely is absurd and this legal loophole can't continue to be ignored." He added, "We must put a swift end to this archaic distinction once and for all. This bill is not only about leveling the law, it is about preventing this type of sexual abuse from occurring and promoting safety and respect for all."
"This bill is a historic victory for our grassroots movement of survivors and advocates across the state, thousands of whom demanded the repeal of the spousal rape exception. There is still more to do, and Enough is Enough will continue to fight until every survivor is protected," said Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber, who leads Enough is Enough Voter Project.
While we rarely use the term "spousal rape" when discussing the crime of rape-the act is common. In fact, according to the
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV
), between 10-14% of married women have been or may experience rape by their spouse. Additionally, 18% of these victims state their children have witnessed the rape.
"The first question a rape victim is asked should not be whether or not they are married. Rape is rape," concluded Garcia.
Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos, and Artesia.