Rape Laws in California
Over the past two years, movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought greater awareness of the sexual violence that women face. Many victims came forward and offered their stories, which includes instances of sexual assault in the workplace, at home, or among friends (but the stories, unfortunately, do not end there). The victims, however, are not limited to women as the movements shed light on the intersectionality of the violence. Some of the victims decided to report their situations to the police as instances of rape. In California, rape is a serious crime and, if the prosecution proves the elements, has a lifetime of ramifications for the defendant.
The crime can occur in a variety of situations, like date rape or spousal rape, but they are all still rape. The elements the prosecution must prove, using evidence, are the following: the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim; the victim did not provide consent for the sexual intercourse; the defendant engaged in the act by using violence, fear of injury, force, or threats of future action. The lack of consent is a major element that must be proven, with the law recognizing that consent is unable to be given in cases of intoxication, unconscious states, and for those who are mentally or physically incapable of providing consent.
Unfortunately, many victims do not come forward to report cases of rape. Those who say they have been raped can sometimes face unfair stigmas and victim blaming/shaming. All rape allegations should be taken seriously. If the prosecution proves that rape did occur beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant faces a felony conviction and will have to spend up to eight years in a California state prison. Furthermore, the convicted rapist would have to register as a sex offender for the duration of their lifetime. If you have been raped or accused of rape, it is important that you seek the immediate counsel of an experienced criminal lawyer. Those at Law Advocates Group LLP can provide legal guidance.