Will Alaska be the Next State to Blame-the-victim for Sexual assault?

Alaska Travel, Denali & Kenai Fjords Experts | Alaska Collection

If House Bill #5, introduced by Representative Geran Tarr passes, it surely will be! Your chance to stop this archaic, harmful rape mentality from embedding in the penal code of yet another state is tomorrow, April 13th, at 3 PM PST.

The language in Rep. Tarr’s bill states:

“Sec. 6. AS 11.41.470 is amended by adding a new paragraph to read:
(9) “consent” means a freely given, reversible agreement specific to the conduct at issue; in this paragraph, “freely given” means agreement to cooperate in the act was positively expressed by word or action.”

CONSENT is just plain commonsense- and this bill does not accurately define what consent is. Consent is accurately defined in Nuremberg Code, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) and NY State Assembly Bill #A6540:

“Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.” #FGKIA

Please note that consent can only occur when the parties to the agreement have the capacity to reason, therefore, a child who has not attained the age of reason, someone mentally compromised, or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, is not capable of consent, even if they agree.

Correctly defining consent makes it crystal clear that the offender cannot maliciously extort agreement, regardless of the words and conduct of the victim, and claim that they had the victim’s consent.

It’s time our laws rip off Penal Code’s consent-blinders that make sexual assault the fault of the victim!

HB#5 fails to consider power differentials or deceptions that would cause the victim to act in diametric opposition to their will and their interests. And it fails to consider that the offender knows they have extorted agreement maliciously even when victims, themselves, do not.

Under Rep Tarr’s bill, the defense can argue against coercion and fraud on the basis that the victim’s words and actions signaled agreement. This language is the root of why defense attorneys are able to tear into the character and behavior of the victim to defend their client against rape and sexual assault charges. No other crime on the planet makes the victim responsible for the harm they suffered.

How can you help?

Tomorrow, April 13th, at 3 PM, GMT-8, (Anchorage Time) a live legislative hearing will take place in Alaska on HB#5. You can watch the hearing on this link. Be sure to tap the “Live Now” tab.

You can call the legislature to express your opinion at the hearing . The legislators will be listening. Here are the numbers you can dial, depending on where you are located:

From Juneau & Anchorage- 907-586-9085

From anywhere else- 844-586-9085

You can also email legislators (or phone and email) at house.state.affairs@akleg.gov

Be sure to convey that the words and actions of the victim should never be on trial. The words and actions of the offender, who influenced the decision making processes of the victim, are what constitutes the crime.

Stop consent blindness from becoming Alaska’s law, and help open every state’s eyes to the archaic use of “words and actions” to determine when rape or sexual assault takes place.! Sex crimes happen when sexual predators exploit their victims for carnal contact.

Here is the statement I will be making during today’s hearing if I’m able to secure access. Feel free to use any portion of it in the statement or email you introduce:

“I’d like to thank each legislator for your time and consideration today.

I’m Joyce Short. I am the author of “Your Consent, the Key to Conquering Sexual Assault” and the founder of the Consent Awareness Network. While there is nothing I’d like better than embracing a bill to prevent sexual assault, I cannot support HB5. And the reason is:

HB5 creates a contradiction that will embed rape mentality in Alaska’s penal code.

HB5 correctly defines consent as freely given agreement. Therefore, by its very nature, such agreement cannot be achieved through malice such as force, fear or fraud. I like to call them “the three f-words” than should never take place in sexual conduct.

It is the conduct of the accused, in securing agreement……in other words, did they employ a malicious means to secure their victim’s agreement, which separates sex from sexual assault; not the words and actions of their victim,….. the criteria stated in HB5.

HB5 clearly states the freedom to choose, free of undue influence, and the disregard for this freedom together in the very same provision.

The words and actions of the accused determine whether they committed murder, larceny, kidnapping, theft, and a host of other crimes. By including, in sexual assault law, that the words and conduct of the victim determine whether a rape or sexual assault takes place, HB5 contradicts the premise that consent must be freely given, and instead, blames the victim for their own rape and  defilement.

Agreement from a person who is scared into agreeing is acquiescence. Agreement by a person who is defrauded into agreeing is assent. In fact Missouri’s rape in the 2nd degree statute states clearly that Assent is not Consent when induced by force, duress or deception.

All offenders know whether they are using malice to gain compliance from their victim. The use of Force, fear and fraud is premeditated. It does not occur accidentally. Whether or not the accused used malice to gain access to the victim should be the single determining factor in whether or not they committed a sex crime…… not what the victim said or did that resulted from that malice.

I urge legislators to adopt the definition for consent proposed in Assembly bill A6540 in NY. The identical bill is also awaiting an index number in New Jersey, and has been drafted and awaits introduction in Pennsylvania.

And I further urge legislators to strike the rape mentality that blames victims, not the offender whose premeditated malice stripped them of their self-worth and shattered their trust.

Failure to do so enables defense attorneys to shred the character of the victim on the stand. Removal creates trials in which the conduct of the offender, not their victim, determines their guilt or innocence.

I am readily available to discuss this issue further with any legislator who is interested.

A person’s body is not the offender’s entitlement. It’s where they live. Alaska’s laws should protect the bodily autonomy of every resident or visitor to your great state whether male or female.

Thank you for your time and consideration.”