End Victim-Blaming Laws for Sexual Assault
Current law ignores the reality of how sexual assault and rapes happen. A national study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found that more than a third of rape victims were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Perpetrators purposefully target victims who are vulnerable after drinking to excess, or even encourage drinking to facilitate an assault. We cannot set the bar in our criminal laws so low that drinking too much alcohol is a permission slip for rape. We must update NY's rape laws to ensure that survivors are able to report and get justice. This legislation would close the rape intoxication loophole, clarifying that individuals who voluntarily consume alcohol may be unable to consent.
Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act
The legislation — based on a progressive legal framework supported by survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking now known as the Equality Model — decriminalizes people in prostitution in New York, while also vacating and expunging past convictions. It also gives them access to comprehensive, trauma-informed services and options to exit the sex trade should they wish to do so. The proposed law will also hold accountable those who cause lifelong harm, profit off of and drive prostitution and sex trafficking. The legislation will continue to uphold statutes that hold accountable pimps, traffickers, brothel owners and illicit massage parlor owners, strengthen anti-trafficking laws, and address sex buying through a fine using an income-based fine scale.
Ban Virginity Testing
The invasive and sexist practice of so-called “virginity testing” is still happening in 2020 in the U.S. Subjecting girls to any form of “virginity testing” is sexual violence and a direct violation of their bodily integrity and privacy. The practice is a reflection of the antiquated standards society still hold for girls and young women, and it is in no way accepted as valid by the medical community. In fact, the United Nations and the World Health Organization co-wrote a statement calling to end virginity testing around the world. This legislation would ban virginity testing in New York State, prohibiting medical practitioners from performing these examinations and subjecting them to penalties if they breach the ban. Any “virginity tests” performed outside of a professional medical setting would be considered sexual assault under the proposal.
Pass An Inclusive Equal Rights Amendment
This legislation strengthens and updates equal protection language in the New York State Constitution to prohibit denial of equality of rights on the basis of sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Our State Constitution’s current Equal Rights Amendment does not include sex, prohibiting discrimination based on “race, color, creed, or religion.” This expanded ERA would embed equality for women and LGBTQ people in our state constitution and would expand protections against all forms of discrimination.
Stop Abusive Practices for Home Care Workers
Home healthcare workers are providing essential care for seniors across New York, but they face harsh and unfair working conditions. Often forced to take on 24-hour shifts for days on end, they care for patients around-the-clock, even though they are only paid for 13 hours of each 24-hour shift. This legislation will prohibit the shameful and unconscionable practice of the 24-hour workdays that harm workers and put patients at risk, by limiting shifts to 12 hours and capping required hours per week.
Make Comprehensive Sexual Education a Reality
This legislation would require comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12, which would address age and developmentally appropriate physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of human sexuality and would reflect the national sexuality education standards.