NEWSFLASH: Bill Put Forth to Clarify Antiquated California Rape Law

In response to this disturbing case that resulted in a dropped rape conviction because the victim was unmarried, California State Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), chair of the California Women’s Caucus, decided it’s time to expand an 1870s rape law that currently applies only to married victims. The new legislation, SB 59, would replace “spouse” with “sexually intimate partner,” extending a provision–which previously only counted sex-by-impersonation as rape if the victim is married–to all cohabitants, including single women and men, domestic partners and gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender pairs.

While this is, of course, a positive development, the fact that this antiquated provision is just now being altered and that the Los Angeles Court of Appeals did nothing to protect a rape victim who was further victimized by a legal loophole is infuriating. Senator Evans, who coauthored this legislation along with 12 other senators, agrees:

I am shocked and appalled that the court didn’t see fit to uphold justice for this rape survivor. The fact that such an outdated loophole still exists is baffling, but I will introduce legislation this session that will bring uniform clarity. The definition of rape is found in the act itself and having sex with an unconscious person is rape. Period.

Photo of the California State Capitol from Wikimedia Commons licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.


  1. Evelyn McMullen says:

    Law should state by ANYONE, not just “sexually intimate partner” because it leaves out rape by strangers, friends, acquaintences, or anyone who is not the “partner”.

  2. I am glad to see more clarity out of the California State Legislature, since the Sin By Silence Bills signed into law by Jerry Brown in September is bringing the same old results when Battered Mother Survivors come forward for parole or a clemency/compassionate release and by Christmas time denied for Sin By Silence Survivors sharing their stories in the prize winning documentaries. Nothing has changed. The Board of Prison Terms refuses to release mothers who had to defend their own lives and the lives of their children from intimate partner and have all ready served 26 years. Abuse:sexual, mental emotional-physical abuse by an intimate partner. California is leading the Nation by clarifying the No Staking Law that have been problematic for Judges on the bench to know what “No Stalking” means. Is it one time or 22 times. Many psycopaths have escaped jail time because of their lack of understanding of “What Is Stalking” “How Do I Recognise A Stalker”. When victims of Domestic Violence Salking caries a 97% homicide rate.
    I have been applying to be present on The Board of Prison Terms, since 1990, to make sure that abused and battered women-mothers survivors have their rights upheld and to have and educated professional present on the Board of Prison Terms and an Eqaul Board…..not male dominant board. What is REAL is that Witch Burning exists in every courtroom and in front of every parole board across America. Governors, Parole Board, Judges, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and Law Enforcement do not understand the cycle of violence or how to apply the battered women’s defense. This ignorance is placing abused mothers and her children she was trying to defend in the first place is causing Maternal Wounding with psychological damage for placing mothers behind bars and keeping them there for 25 years to life. The criminal justice system just casts them away without blinking an eye.
    From the White House we have a President putting his head in the sand and the author of Violence Aganst Women Act, Vice President Jo Biden stating On The View, “Culturally, abused women are blamed for their own abuse.” However, his position on gun control does not carry through for compassionatley releasing a Mother back home to her children. He has turned his back on Merissa Alexander, along with the Judge. “You should have jumped out the window instead.” This Stand Your Ground Law case has a victim of domestic violence with a 9 day old premature infant seperated and the infant placed in custody with the abusive father…..Mom is spending 20 years behind bars for firing a gun into the ceiling; without a homicide. The more we can clarify and determind sentencing the more justice we will have for abused women-mothers in America. Judges, Prosecutors, Jurors, and Defense Attorneys are ignorant and so are the parole boards. And women do not have the right to defend their own lives and the lives of their children. If we look closely at why there are very few acquittals or short term manslaughter sentences vs life in prions….we will find basic ignorance and arrogance in the system of justice. Contraversay this week is that the young people in he Governor’s staff stated,” There is not law that says that Jerry Brown must compassionatley release anyone.” The fact is when I called in is that there is no law…..but it is a clause in our State Constitution. Here is a clear cut example of the ignornance that is governing us in CA.

  3. melody marks says:


  4. Lauren Donna Graham says:

    When I was 20 (I am now 67) I was drugged at a party and gang raped for hours. This was in Hollywood in 1966, and at that time, there was the chance that if I had gone to the police and reported it, I might have been raped by them (we all knew of women who had been). Another reason not to report it then was that if it went to court, my past would have been totally examined/torn apart to try to find some reason to put the blame on me. I would have been raped again (emotionally), on the stand, and there would ultimately have been no convictions. Times have become a little better, but archaic laws like this are the loopholes attornies use to win cases, at women’s expense.

    I sincerely hope that SB 59 passes.

  5. again, while im glad that they are updating the law, i feel like the article’s presentation makes it seem like what this defendant did was legal? It wasn’t legal and CA has a statute on the books already making this rape. It’s not like the guy is walking away without punishment

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