Although several states have extended, sometimes doubling, the statute of limitations on sex crimes, apparently in response to the allegations against Bill Cosby, California has removed them entirely. Which, plain and simple, means that any person is FOREVER subject to a charge of sexual misconduct, even if they never touched the accuser, or only did so in a fully consensual situation.
I worry for my son, a musician. At 21 years old, I assume he is having sex, and I assume he is having only consensual sex, based upon how he was raised. But if he steps foot in California – and even if he doesn’t – and makes it big; anyone in the whole wide world can suddenly decide, twenty, twenty-five, thirty years from now, that he abused them. How is he supposed to prove he didn’t? Is he supposed to videotape in full every single second of every single encounter he has with every single person?
Say he plays at a concert and attracts a young woman who loves his playing (entirely possible; he is both good and good-looking), and they have a completely consensual, very pleasant after-show, complete with dinner, a few drinks, and a roll in the hay. Both leave happy. Fast forward to the year 2038, after he’s a success, and there will be NOTHING stopping her from coming forward and contending that he date-raped her in 2016.
But by this time, all of the evidence will be lost: text messages, receipts, engagement calendars, plane tickets, etc, all of which, knitted together, would expose her lie, or at least cast doubt on her allegations – gone. Yes, she would have to explain why she took so long to come forward, and my son’s attorney could make much of that, but only after my son has spent presumably large sums in defense of something that never even happened. And, like I said, it wouldn’t matter if he’d never been to California or met this woman – how can he possibly establish either one? He can’t.
While I cannot overstate my abhorrence at non-consensual sex in any form, beginning with cat calling, this is absolutely the wrong way to address it. It requires anyone, especially a young man with a promising future, to consider anyone else a potential threat and adversary. It certainly doesn’t empower women or do a damn thing to address the root causes of sexual abuse. If anything, it contributes to them. Wow, that’s tragic.
P.S. I also have a daughter who has been taught how to protect herself ….