Press release: Stop State Discrimination against Rape Victims!

For Release On

Monday October 28, 2013

Contact Rachel West 415-640-4250/ or Maxine Doogan 415-265-3302

          Stop State Discrimination Against Rape Victims!

       Sex Worker Groups Demand California Victim Compensation Board Remove Discriminatory Regulations

What: California sex worker organizations are spearheading an effort to urge the California Victims Compensation Governing Board to remove discriminatory regulation 649.56 with a public teach-in and petition signing. Regulation 649.56 excludes sex workers from getting compensation for rape and other violence. The campaign also targets Regulation 649.4(b) which excludes ex-prisoners on felony probation or parole from compensation. 

 This public information and mobilization campaign was created in the wake of two unrelated events; a denial notice to a woman who applied for compensation after she was brutally raped in her home in 2012.  CalVCP decided her injuries occurred in the ‘qualifying crime of prostitution’, even though this type of discrimination against rape victims conflicts with California statutes and the victim has never been charged or convicted of working as a prostitute.

Our outrage was compounded by the CalVCP Board’s May 2013 vote dividing women into good and bad victims by passing special exemptions for sex trafficked victims who would have previously been banned from receiving access to the fund under Reg. 649.56 because of their involvement in prostitution.  While we support compensation for all victims including victims of trafficking, we object to how this proposal adds additional layers of discrimination and hurdles for rape victims to an already discriminatory regulation.  We want the regulation scrapped altogether. Rape victims are rape victims!

Where:  San Francisco Public Library 100 Larkin Street San Francisco, California Hispanic/Latina meeting room.

When:  Tuesday November 12, 2013, 5:30 Press Conference  followed by 6-7:30pm community meeting.

Who: Sponsored by Erotic Service Providers Union organizer Maxine Doogan, US PROSitutes Collective’s Rachel West and supported and endorsed by other individuals and organizations.

Why:  By stopping discrimination in compensation awards, we make way for all rape victims to achieve justice. No matter who we are, how we dress, where we go, how we act, whom we date or what we do for work— we all must have access to compensation and justice. Barring access to the CalVCP benefits sends the wrong message to the public and to would-be rapists; that anyone can treat prostitutes or those they perceive as prostitutes as badly as they please and the resulting injuries will never be fully treated as such because of these types of discriminatory regulations.

Campaigners are also opposing the current process where rather than the state taking responsibility to compensate victims, they extract payments called “restitution” from prisoners, many of whom are inside for non-violent offenses including crimes of poverty.

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