Vera House Statement on Gov. Cuomo's Proposal to Close the Rape Intoxication Loophole
Vera House welcomes Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to close the 'rape intoxication loophole' in New York State law. We strongly support this effort and know that it will make a real difference in the lives of survivors of sexual violence that we serve.
As the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault points out, “Under New York Penal Law, if a survivor of sexual violence was voluntarily intoxicated, prosecutors cannot bring a case against the person who has harmed them, even if the survivor did not or was unable to consent to sexual activity. This loophole penalizes survivors for drinking alcohol and allows people who have committed sexual harm to avoid accountability. Moreover, it reinforces rape culture by implying that the survivor is to blame for what happened to them because they were drinking. One's ability to affirmatively consent to sexual activity is jeopardized whether they were voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated. Sexual violence is never the fault of the survivor; it is always the fault of the person who chose to do harm.”
Governor Cuomo’s proposal will amend the law to ensure that survivors of sexual violence are protected regardless of whether they voluntarily or involuntarily consumed alcohol. The proposal will ensure that survivors have access to justice and that people who choose to do harm are held accountable. Vera House commends the Governor's office for advancing legislation that helps to protect all survivors of sexual violence.