Utah lawmakers decided they know what's best for sexual assault victims. And they're wrong

Thursday , March 01, 2018 - 4:30 AM


Here’s a list of organizations opposing House Bill 254, which allows Utah colleges to ignore the wishes of victims and report allegations of sexual violence to the police:

  • The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, which provided this list.
  • Rape Recovery Center.
  • Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
  • California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Clery Center.
  • Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Day One.
  • End Rape on Campus.
  • Florida Council Against Sexual Violence.
  • Girls Inc.
  • Human Rights Campaign.
  • Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence.
  • Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault.
  • Jane Doe Inc.
  • Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.
  • Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
  • Know Your IX, A Project of Advocates for Youth.
  • Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault.
  • Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Men Stopping Violence.
  • Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence.
  • Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence.
  • National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality.
  • National Women's Law Center.
  • New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
  • Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses LLC.
  • South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
  • SurvJustice Inc.
  • Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.
  • Victim Rights Law Center.
  • Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance.
  • West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services.
  • Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
  • Women of Color Network, Inc.
  • Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
  • American Association of University Women – Salt Lake Chapter.

HB 254 passed the House anyway, 41-33-1.

Rep. Kim Coleman, a West Jordan Republican, sponsored the bill. She and 40 of her colleagues sent a clear message Tuesday — colleges need to get tough on crime, and if it means destroying the lives of a few sexual assault victims, that’s the price you pay.

It will fail. Because you cannot rip the last fragile vestiges of dignity and control from a rape victim and expect others to step forward.

  • RELATED: “Don't allow Utah colleges to co-opt the decisions of sexual violence victims”

Reporting will decline. Sexual predators will become emboldened.

At the same time, you’ll drive victims into hiding. You’ll cause them to leave school. And thanks to you, the few victims who do step forward will be forced to relive a horrific crime.

The experts told you as much, but you rejected their experience and insight. You put a political agenda ahead of the lives of sexual assault victims. In effect, you decided you’re the experts.

But you’re not, and students at Utah’s colleges and universities will pay the price for your arrogance.

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