April 7, 2017
Law enforcement says that sexual assault is a crime that’s declining dramatically; however, it’s also widely under-reported. This frequently leaves perpetrators on the streets and victims traumatized long after the crime.
This month advocates in Southern California who work on behalf of sexual assault victims are educating the public on awareness and the tools required for prevention during National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Sexual Assault Awareness Events in Santa Monica
The program in Santa Monica offers hands-on training to women of all ages to fend off attackers, along with ways to stay safe before an assault can happen. The free training is one of several area events at Santa Monica College. The calendar includes a workshop advocating for a cultural change and community action, a forum for survivors, and a review of the new, stricter sexual assault laws.
“California and Federal laws are changing the way we think about sexual assault and violence,” the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women says on its Facebook page. “No means no is no longer enough.”
Tougher Laws on the Books
In 2014, that State of California enacted a new law that clarified the definition of “sexual consent.” The state law now stipulates that it requires an “affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” by each party for sexual activity on college campuses. The law also mandates preventative education during college student orientation, better access to counseling, and a better trained and more well-prepared adjudication personnel.
Senate Bill 967—known as “Yes means Yes,” was in response to the forced-sex scandals on college campuses, as well as a survey that found that roughly 25% of female student respondents acknowledged that they’d experienced unwanted sexual contact. These assaults were carried out by force or threat of force…or while the victim was intoxicated.
Statistics Show Decrease in Sexual Assault
Police agencies and advocacy groups have reported that incidents of sexual assault have declined steadily over the past 20 years. However, it’s not certain if the statistics reflect a true decrease in the crime—or are merely a case of victims not reporting sexual assault.
The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that the national rate of sexual assault and rape has dropped 63% since 1993, but only six of every 1,000 rapists will be sent to prison. The group estimates one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds—every eight minutes the victim is a child. RAINN states that as of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape. Approximately 3% of American men (1 in 33) have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
There was a total of 89 “sex offenses”—a category that includes rape and sexual assault—reported in Santa Monica last year. That’s down from 99 in 2015, says the Santa Monica Police Department. Forty rapes were reported in 2016, compared to 42 the previous year. In 2006, sex offenses peaked in the city with 121 reports. Since that time, there’ve been 920 sex offenses reported in Santa Monica, according to police records.
At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we make it our mission to hold the perpetrators of sexual abuse accountable for their heinous actions. The compensation we have been able to obtain for our young victims will never replace what was lost, but it will help pave the road to recovery.
Call us today to arrange for a free consultation to discuss your situation with a professional and compassionate Cifarelli Law attorney at (949) 502-8600