California Law Against Rape

California Law Against Rape

California Law Against Rape

California Law Against Rape, and other forms of sexual violence occurs in most cases as a result of failing to receive proper consent from the victim. Forced acts of sex violate an individual’s bodily autonomy and liberty. This is one of the main reasons why California criminalizes rape. Penal Code 261 PC defines an act of rape as sexual intercourse attained through nonconsensual means using “force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another” (Cal. Pen. Code § 261). The law goes on to broaden how rape can occur by also criminalizing nonconsensual sexual intercourse not achieved through force, such as having sexual intercourse with someone intoxicated and incapable of resisting, or when someone in a position of authority abuses their power by threatening the possibility of incarceration, deportation, or any other measure if the victim does not perform sexual intercourse.

How to Prove Rape Occurred

Unfortunately, rape is not reported every single time. Many victims feel ashamed or are pressured, by external forces to not press charges because of either social, cultural, personal, or religious reason. However, rape is a sex crime and when proven, is punished heavily by the court of law and public opinion.

In order to win their case under this specific penal code, the prosecution must prove four elements: sexual intercourse did occur, the victim is not the perpetrator’s spouse, no form of consent was given for sexual intercourse, and the means of obtaining sexual intercourse consisted of force, abuse of power, taking advantage of someone that is impaired and incapable of consent, and other forms as explained within the penal code.

Punishment for Committing Rape

If convicted of rape, a rapist faces various punishments based on the nature of the crime. The most common penalties include incarceration in a state prison for either three, six, or eight years. If the rape involved a minor, the perpetrator can receive a maximum sentence of thirteen years in prison. Given the associated stigma with rape cases, many victims do not come forward and report the crime. Conversely, many innocent people are falsely accused of committing rape.

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