In a fantastic move towards defining consent in sexual assault cases, California has become the first American state to clearly define when people agree to sex, and when they don’t.
This law tackles the ambiguities of the original ‘no means no’ standard which made investigations of sexual assault cases difficult.
So what does this mean?
Basically, the law states that a “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent,” “nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”
This means that ‘affirmative consent’ cannot be given if someone is asleep of incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.
This is a fantastic move for lawmakers and enforcement who struggle often in determining positive outcomes for the victims of sexual assault cases, particularly when involving alcohol intoxication.
There is an obvious problem within universities and how they handle rape and sexual assault accusations, and this law seeks to improve their systems by requiring the use of policies from protecting privacy to training campus officials and providing counseling for victims of sexual assault.
“The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug,” Sen. Kevin de Leon, one of the men in charge of passing the bill, said. “We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”
“Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy.”
I think this a definite step in the right direction, albeit a small one. If the rest of America and the world can adopt such laws we could really shift the conversation surrounding sexual assault, especially in young people.
What do you think about the ‘Yes Means Yes’ law? Will it make a difference?