Oregon Leads the Way in Protecting Sexual Assault Victims
Depending on where in the United States you live, you may have heard of “lifeline laws.” These laws prevent a person under 21 from being charged by the police for possessing or consuming alcohol if he/she takes a person to receive emergency treatment or calls 911 due to a possible overdose of alcohol. Oregon, being the progressive state it is, has sprung an idea out of these laws that everyone can get behind.
Introducing Senate Bill 762, which was introduced to the Oregon State Senate on Feb. 7th. This bill is extremely similar to lifeline laws, only instead of protecting people in the case of alcohol poisoning, it protects victims of sexual assaults who are under the age 21 and were in possession of alcohol. Thins in part will hopefully curb the lack of reporting in sexual assaults that plagues this nation. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network(RAINN) estimate that 68%, or almost two thirds, of sexual assaults and rapes go unreported – partly due to the fact that victims may face criminal prosecution if found to be in possession of alcohol while underage.
While this law hasn’t passed yet as of the time this article was published, it’s a great stepping stone to stopping the United States epidemic of unreported sexual assaults. Victims of these crimes should not have to fear criminal charges or public backlash for coming forward with their accusations. Hopefully, there will be a point in time where all states adopt a law similar to this one.