STOCKTON - Today, District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar released the following statement as a new law backed by the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office goes into effect eliminating the distinction for spousal rape.
"I commend the legislature and Governor for eliminating this archaic distinction in the law," said DA Tori Verber Salazar. "Rape is rape and it's a question that hinges on consent, not the identity of the perpetrator.
While men suffer sexual assault as well, women are far more likely to be victims of rape. I'm relieved that this era is behind us in California, but the fact that we are making such a change in 2022 reveals how far we have yet to go to achieve equal justice under the law."
A strong coalition of women's justice advocates and prosecutors joined bill author and Chair of Legislative Women's Caucus Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens) in advocating for the bill. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the legislation, AB 1171 , and the law took effect on January 1. California made marital rape illegal in 1979 but it was subject to lesser penalties. Someone convicted of raping a spouse was not required to register as a sex offender and it was possible to avoid jail time. Nine states continue to distinguish "spousal rape" from "rape."