California Lawmakers Are Pushing To Make Rapists Go To Jail For At Least 3 Years

After a California judge sentenced Brock Turner to just six months in jail for the rape of an unconscious woman, people all over the country were outraged. Many called for a serious change in the way our justice system handles sexual assault cases. Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen answered, proposing new legislation that would require a mandatory minimum sentence for the raping of an unconscious victim, the Huffington Post reports.

California law mandates that the rape of a conscious victim can result in a three to eight year jail sentence. However, if the victim was unconscious or intoxicated, the assailant can get away with as little as probation. This is because raping someone who is unconscious doesn't require force—therefore, it is somehow a less-punishable crime in the eyes of California's legal system. 

California State Assemblyman Evan Low (D-San Jose) said that the “current law actually incentivizes rapists to get their victim intoxicated before assaulting them," according to the Huffington Post.

If Rosen's proposed law, AB 2888, passes, rapists would receive a minimum sentence of three years in state prison regardless of whether the victim was conscious or not. Rosen argued that there should be no distinction between the rape of a conscious or unconscious victim because rape is rape.

"We need to protect the next Emily Doe from the next Brock Turner," Rosen stated. "Let's give the next campus sexual assault victim no reason to fear that her attacker will end up walking around free after spending less time in jail than it takes to finish a single college semester."

The new law, however, has gained some opponents who fear the targeting of minorities and poor people. Deputy Public Defender Sajid Khan is opposed to increasing the minimum sentencing for all sexual predators due to a concern that this will lead to mass incarceration. Co-founder of Ultraviolet, a women's rights organization, Nita Chaudhary also doesn't support Rosen's proposed legislation. She told the Huffington Post that while "it is long past time that our justice system take the crime of rape seriously, we need judges who focus on finding justice for rape survivors."

Whether Rosen's law passes or not, the U.S. is finally starting to address the epidemic of sexual assault across college campuses, especially in terms of how the country handles justice for victims and survivors.