Break the Silence: Silent Witness Display Calls Attention to Domestic Violence

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

SAN JOSE — On the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Assemblymember Evan Low and Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma held a press conference as part of the Silent Witness National Initiative to break the silence about domestic violence and announce an important bill recently signed into law by Governor Brown. The Rape Kit Backlog Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund will allow California taxpayers to contribute to reducing the rape kit backlog. It is estimated thousands of rape kits sit untested.

“With the #metoo campaign, millions of women broke the silence about the pervasive culture of sexual harassment and violence against women in our country. The shockingly ubiquitous hashtag made clear just how extensive the problem truly is. As a man and an elected official, I stand with all survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and harassment and thank Governor Brown for signing AB 280 to bring justice to survivors. We must end the culture of violence against women now,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley).

Governor Brown recently signed three bills into law that will reduce the rape kit backlog and expand protections for survivors of sexual assault. Assembly Bill 280, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and sponsored by Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA creates a voluntary tax contribution fund to provide grants to law enforcement to help reduce the rape kit backlog in California. Assembly Bill 1312, authored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) expands the protections and services provided to victims of sexual assault. Assembly Bill 41 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) requires law enforcement agencies to report how many rape kits they have collected and examined, along with the reasons why the remaining backlogged kits have not been tested. It is estimated that there are thousands of untested rape kits in California.

California State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA sponsored AB 280. “It’s significant that Governor Brown signed AB 280 during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. While rape and domestic violence are separate, egregious acts, unfortunately, they tend to go hand-in-hand. The passage of AB 280 sends a message to all sexual assault survivors that the state stands with them in solidarity, and no longer will we allow justice delayed to be justice denied. Thank you, Assemblymember Low, for thinking ‘inside the box’ to create this resourceful funding approach to help survivors find justice and get dangerous serial predators off our streets and away from our loved ones,” said California State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA.

The Silent Witness Exhibit and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month remind the public to listen to the voices of survivors to create change for the future.

If you are in danger, call 911 or reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.