SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A new bill was introduced this week by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) calls for a cultural change on college campuses when it comes to rape and sexual assault.
Senate Bill 967 is authored by Jackson and Sen. Kevin de León of East Los Angeles. It would require California colleges and universities to address campus sexual violence by requiring them to adopt consistent sexual assault polices and protocols that focus on the victim.
"We believe that schools have an affirmative duty to educate their students and prevent their communities from this behavior," Jackson said in a press conference earlier this week. "For far too long there's been a trivializing attitude about rape that ignores the victim and protects the perpetrator."
Jackson says that fewer than 5 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses are actually reported and that in many cases the victims know their attacker.
This legislation would force campuses across the state to implement prevention programs, enter into partnerships which existing on-campus and comity-based organizations and further educate students on rape and sexual assault. Jackson hopes that those steps, as well as taking the blame off of the victim and putting more on the attacker, will make California's colleges and universities safe for not only women but all students.
"No excuses for rape, no excuses for blaming the victim, no excuses for blaming the victim and no excuses for colleges and universities turning a blind eye to this kind of sexual behavior," Jackson said.
Senate Bill 967 still has a long way to go before becoming law. It could be heard at its first committee sometime in March and still needs to make its way through the State Senate and Assembly before Aug. 31.