Walker Effort to Close Sexual Assault Loophole and Strengthen Consent Laws Signed by Governor
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – A new law spearheaded by state Rep. Mark Walker, D-Arlington Heights, will strengthen consent laws, hold rapists accountable and provide justice for survivors of sexual assault.
“This law will close a loophole in our system that was allowing offenders to avoid prosecution by unfairly shifting blame on the survivors,” Walker said. “If someone becomes intoxicated by their own hand, in absolutely no way does that excuse criminal behavior directed toward them.”
Walker’s House Bill 5441 adds language to the state’s definition of “unable to give knowing consent” by specifying that one cannot give consent if they are too intoxicated due to voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol. Before Walker’s proposal, Illinois statute only indicated that one is unable to give consent if the rapist administers drugs or alcohol that would cause the victim to become unconscious and the offender was reasonably aware of their condition.
“The existing system underscored a stigma in society that suggests that victims deserve to be blamed or are somehow responsible for sexual assault,” Walker said. “Today we’re standing with survivors. I am deeply thankful for the advocates and survivors who came forward to make today a reality. There’s still much more work to do, but today was an important step in the right direction.”