(Scroll down for comprehensive state-by-state chart ranked from best to worst)
Arkansas is ranked the 2nd worst state in the US, per capita, for incidents of rape. CAN is fighting to change their statistic by battling deeply embedded “dark ages” concepts.
Two bills, one defining consent and the other abolishing the Statute of Limitations for the most egregious, Y Felony rape cases, is set for a hearing by the “Judiciary Committee,” next week. Both bills were introduced by Representative Robin Lundstrum.
House bill #1577 will abolish the Statute of Limitations for Y Felony, aggravated, vicious rapes, and enable victims who are not yet willing to prosecute their cases, to have their rape kits processed and retained for the future.
House bill #1141 would define consent as “A freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement (#FGKIA) by a person who is not physically helpless, mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or under the legal age to consent.”
What’s the hold-up?
The Judiciary Committee chaired by Representative Carol Dalby is deeply entrenched in the “old ways” of doing things which positioned Arkansas on the bottom rung of the ladder. But despite their poor showing, old methods die hard. Dalby’s introductory statement, when bringing the March 2nd hearing to order, foretold our outcome…. She began with the chant, “That’s alright, that’s okay. We’re going to kill your bill today!”
And indeed they did!
Our consent bill did not secure a majority of votes, even though more legislators voted “yes” than “no.” The bill needed a majority of committee members to pass. The voting results were 8 “yays, “7 “nays,” and 5 “not voting.” “Not voting” prevented a majority decision.
While we lost in round one, we won’t give up! We recognize the need to enlighten law makers and build the public’s demand for change. To quote an important truism, “The sale starts when the answer is ‘No.'” We’re rolling up our sleeves!
Meanwhile….. Repealing the Statute of Limitation comes up next week. In last week’s discussion, Representative Jimmy Gazaway called Y Felony Rapes – Arkansas’s most violent crime against a living person – a “He Said/She Said,” unless there is a rape kit. The state already repealed SOL for Rape Kit cases and for child victims, with or without a rape kit, back in 2015.
Gazaway seems to have lost sight of the fact that rape cases were tried without rape kits for centuries. Currently, childhood rape cases, pursued by grown adults, rarely have rape kits as evidence. The Arkansas prosecutors determine whether there is sufficient evidence and credible testimony to prove a childhood rape case. That same oversight will apply in the prosecution of a violent rape of an adult. In fact several prosecutors showed up and supported #1577 for the initial March 16th hearing. Gazaway’s objection minimizes the most defiling crime that a person could face and is an insult to the competence of the prosecutors of Arkansas.
Why is Arkansas among the lowest of the lows?
We learned from detectives who handle sexual assault cases, very few of their intake officers are trained in trauma-informed interaction with victims. Arrests are made in only 12% of the cases who walk through their precincts’ doors. That means 88% of Arkansas victims have absolutely no hope for justice. Sexual predators get a free pass for offending at least 88% of the time…. and that’s without even considering the victims that simply have no faith in the system and don’t report.
Will abolishing the Statute of Limitations help?
Those of us who are survivors and work with survivors know that coming forward with a rape case takes tremendous bravery. In our present system, without focusing on whether consent took place or not, victims are literally raked over the coals by the justice system. For many, it takes years before they feel strong enough to face their attacker and the glaring eyes of a victim-blaming public. But we will never turn the tide on sexual assault until offenders know that they’ll spend a lifetime wondering when their vicious deeds will catch up to them. Instead, we sentence victims to a lifetime of injustice. Society needs this toxic dynamic to change.
Statute of Limitations indexed by each state’s per capita case ranking
Sixty-five percent of states throughout the US have eliminated the Statute of Limitations for egregious, violent rape cases. 70% of the top ranked states have abolished SOL. Check this list to see where your state stands from best to worst.
|Rank||State||pr. 100K||SOL Status|
|1||Iowa||4||10 yrs or DNA|
|2||New Jersey||16||No SOL|
|6||North Carolina||30||No SOL|
|10||New York||32||No SOL|
|23||New Hampshire||42||6 yrs|
|24||West Virginia||42||No SOL|
|26||Rhode Island||44||No SOL|
|27||South Carolina||47||No SOL|
|31||District of Columbia||48||No SOL|
|34||Texas||49||10 yrs/DNA/5 victims|
|39||North Dakota||54||7 yrs|
|43||New Mexico||60||No SOL|
|47||South Dakota||71||No SOL|
Are you interested in repealing the Statute of Limitations and/or defining CONSENT in the laws of your state? Contact CAN at Info@ConsentAwareness.net and sign our petition at http://bit.ly/BillPetition
Read “Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault” to learn more about our laws on sexual assault and how you can help turn your human right of consent into a civil right backed by law!