Georgia’s controversial House Bill 51, which would require colleges and universities to report rapes (and other felonies) to the police whether or not the survivor consents, was unanimously tabled by the state Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday to give the legislature more time to address concerns about the measure. The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, however, has told the Marietta Daily Journal that “he now hopes to attach it to another piece of legislation to be considered by the Senate” this week. They further report “Should his efforts be successful, a vote on his measure could come Tuesday or Thursday.”
“Rape takes an individual who is beautifully, powerfully unique and flattens her into something two-dimensional that brutal fantasy fashions into mute, pleasing paper dolls,” said Lisa Anderson, Executive Director of Atlanta Women for Equality. “That is precisely what HB 51’s mandatory reporting provision does to the extraordinary women I have the privilege of serving every day. We absolutely must put an end to this attempt to ratify rape culture.”
The other key provision of HB 51 would require colleges to afford students accused of sexual assault, and other felonies, with “due process” in institutional disciplinary proceedings. This provision is in response to steps taken by the Obama Administration beginning in 2011 to step-up enforcement of and attention to long-standing requirements under federal Title IX law that educational institutions act to address student-on-student sexual harassment and assault including taking disciplinary action against students found responsible for these violations.
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