April 28, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A bill that redefines the definition of rape passed the State Assembly on Tuesday.
The legislation, typically referred to as the “Rape is Rape” bill, aims to expand the definition beyond vaginal penetration.
Currently, oral and anal sexual assaults are charged as “criminal sexual acts,” not rape.
While criminal sexual acts and rape carry the same penalties, the terminology reduces its perceived severity and makes it difficult for victims to heal and attain closure, activists say.
This bill would eliminate the charge of “criminal sexual acts,” and the perpetrators of such crimes would be charged with rape.
“I am proud to carry this legislation because these brave individuals deserve to know that our justice system recognizes their trauma,” said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, who sponsored the bill.
The bill passed by a vote 133-17, with all the assembly members from Queens voting in support.
The legislation is about to go before the Senate, where Brad Hoylman is the sponsor of the bill.
The “Rape is Rape” bill was first introduced by former Assembly Member Aravella Simotas in 2012. The bill has passed the Assembly year after year, but has not ever received the backing of the Senate.
The bill was originally introduced in response to a Bronx teacher who was vaginally, anally, and orally violated in 2011, but the crime was not considered rape, and was instead classified as “criminal sex acts.”