Amongst those people who work with rape victims (CA Penal Code 261), especially on college campuses, annual sex crime incidents are kind of a joke. Whereas they may have heard about several dozen questionable incidences, law enforcement officials had heard about none. The reason for this, many say, is the difficulty that victims of sexual crimes have had reporting in the past. Now that reporting has been made easier, the UC system is excited that there has been a 50% raise in reported sexual crimes on California campuses.
However, this does not mean that these types of crimes are occurring more often, just that they are being reported more frequently. This is a good thing, considering that this increase just barely represents the tip of the iceberg. In other words, though this reported number is significantly higher, there are most likely many more victims who have not yet come forward and perhaps never will. What is important is that more victims feel as if they are comfortable reporting their experiences so that something may be done.
This is all on the back of the “Yes means yes” “affirmative consent “ law that has just been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Accordingly, dealing with campus sexual assault on college campuses in California will be forever changed. It remains to be seen, therefore, how these new laws and policies will affect attitudes toward sexual assault and its reporting.