SACRAMENTO — Today, AB 341, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s bill to strengthen a sexual assault victim’s right to privacy by requiring social media content to go through the same process as other evidence in these types of trials, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan vote.
Increasingly in sexual assault cases, decades of social media activity is being mined and admitted into evidence that is irrelevant to the case at hand, but has the result of embarrassing, shaming, or humiliating a victim, sometimes to the point of discouraging their testimony. AB 341 simply requires that social media content go through the same submission of evidence procedures as other types of evidence covered under existing Rape Shield Laws.
“We already have laws on the books to help ensure victims seeking justice for their attackers won’t have their entire lives subjected to public scrutiny, and those protections should be extended to their social media activity as well” said Assemblymember Boerner Horvath. “Character assassination and the rehashing of a victim’s sexual history are largely ruled irrelevant in assault cases, but Rape Shield Laws need to be updated to account for the realities of our online lives so that sexual assault victims can seek justice and keep their dignity intact.”