Almost everyone can agree that the sexual assault problem on U.S. college campuses is worrisome, but is this California bill taking it a little too far?
According to LA Weekly, Los Angeles State Sen. Kevin de Leon co-wrote a bill that would require students at state-run colleges to establish "affirmative consent" before engaging in sexual activity.
"It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in initiating the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the consent of the other person to engage in the sexual activity," states the bill. "Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent."
Truthfully, this bill does have good intentions. Too often we hear about sexual assault cases where the victim is unable to verbally or physically refuse having sex, perhaps due to too much alcohol intake. If this bill were to pass, we would hopefully no longer hear stories about attackers legally getting away with sexually assaulting drunk women (or men) because the victims were too intoxicated to say, "No."
However, what about the non-verbal cues that one uses to signal she or he is willing to have sex? Like, nodding, making sounds or just taking off clothes? With this bill, that would not count as consent; students will have to say it out loud or write it on paper.
Sure, this might seem awkward for some. But in reality, this country has as a nationwide sexual assault problem on its campuses, so perhaps this bill is necessary. And anyways, LA Weekly also notes that the University of California already has a similar policy in place.
As de Leon stated, "The federal government is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities. Obviously, there is a problem. SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only 'yes' means 'yes."
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