No One Who is Raped Should be Blamed for It. That Includes Sex Workers.

Dec 16, 2013
Ana Zamora

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

Victory: Regulation Barring Sex Workers from Receiving Victim Compensation Repealed

The ACLU of Northern California is celebrating a huge victory: Last week the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board voted to repeal the regulation barring sex workers from getting compensation from the Victim Compensation Fund.

The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) is a vital state program that provides resources and financial assistance to California residents who have been victimized or have lost a loved one to murder. They provide vital assistance for trauma recovery, mental health, medical bills, lost wages and even burial services for survivors who do not have the means to pay for critical, but often very costly, services. For many survivors of rape and other sexual violence, the CalVCP allows men, women, and children to heal both physically and mentally from the brutalization they endured.

Before last week, this discriminatory regulation excluded sex workers, sending a terrible message to victims of rape as well as perpetrators of sexual violence – that some survivors of sexual violence are to blame. It was an endorsement of the antiquated notion that victims deserve to be raped – she wanted it because she wore that mini skirt, or that she deserved it because she got that drunk, or that it was inevitable because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No person, no matter what, deserves to be raped or to be blamed for that rape. 

The ACLU of Northern California, along with a fiery coalition of sex worker groups and allies, urged the CalVCP to repeal Regulation 649.56 – and they did!  Over the last six months the coalition, led by Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective and Maxine Doogan from the Erotic Service Providers Union, launched a powerful campaign preparing for what we hoped would be the final stop before success.  The CalVCP, who had the option to repeal the regulation, amend it or take no action and leave it as it currently is, made a just and commendable decision to repeal.

This sends a deliberate message that sexual violence toward any person is not tolerated in this state.

Send a tweet to CalVCP today thanking them for supporting justice for all victims of sexual violence:

Thank you @helpingvictims for making a just decision to support all victims of sexual violence in California.

Ana Zamora is a Senior Policy Advocate at the ACLU of Northern California