The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion D.C.’s Revised Criminal Code is flawed

The D.C. flag hangs in July 2019 at the John Wilson Building in D.C. (Marlena Sloss/The Washington Post)

The Revised Criminal Code Act passed unanimously by the D.C. Council won’t make residents safer. It hurts rape victims by creating a new right for rapists: the right to petition for early release.

I emailed D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) asking her to veto the bill because of the rape provision. I’ve been a member of the sexual assault community for more than 30 years. It’s a community that none of us joined willingly, and it’s one none of us can leave. Rape is an irreversible crime, and we don’t get to rewind the clock.

I shared my concerns with the D.C. Council when its members were drafting the bill, but no one listened to me. I was told that the new right was proportionate and just. Yet none of them told me why it is just to support the early release of a rapist.

The D.C. Council’s refusal to justify the early release of rapists is perplexing given how its members all stated support for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement. One would have thought that support for the 2017 movement would have spurred them to support the opposite of what happened with the Revised Criminal Code. Sadly, it didn’t, so I support mayoral veto of the flawed bill.

K. Denise Rucker Krepp, Washington

The writer is an advisory neighborhood commissioner.