It’s easier to get away with sexual assault in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in U.S.
“Because jury instructions come under the evidentiary rules and procedure, we did not want to create a dispute between the Legislature and the courts by possibly overstepping the line between the two branches of government,” says Briana Elzey, Parker’s chief legislative aide.
In other words: baby steps for the only state backward enough to actively perpetuate rape myths that create biases against victims of sexual assault.
“This is a bill whose time has come,” says Diane Moyer, attorney and legal director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, who along with Harley assisted Parker in developing the legislation.
“We have rape laws on the books in Pennsylvania, but then it’s, ‘Why did you wear a dress, why did you shave your legs, why are you a woman essentially,’” says Moyer. “You just can’t believe it’s happening in 2011.”
The lies that enable sexual assault to be practically a rite of passage while growing up—1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested—are already everywhere, so deeply rooted in our culture you have to dig deep to yank them out. Staying silent has never helped a situation of sexual assault, ever. We say no. We say there is no better time to learn more and write more reality checks.