Now that Kobe Bryant’s criminal and civil cases are over, experts are weighing its ultimate impact, says USA Today. Colorado’s legislature is considering changes to the rape shield law so it better protects alleged victims from having their sexual histories publicized. Similar changes are being discussed in other states. California last year tightened its rape shield law to prevent the disclosure of a victim’s sexual history during pretrial motions. The Bryant case “has encouraged legislators in several states to reassess their own rape shield laws,” Michelle Anderson of Villanova University law school.
It’s not certain what impact the case may have on the willingness of sexual-assault victims to come forward and report crimes. “There’s no way we have hard numbers right now on whether this case has had an effect on other women,” said Cynthia Stone of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “What we do know is that sexual-assault is one of the lowest reported crimes. he reasons victims give for not reporting is fear of loss of privacy, fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed. We saw those fears exponentially magnified for the young woman in this case.”