Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"yes means yes" | California's new targeted consent for sex law

You can read the text of the 1700 word Student Safety: Sexual Assault law right here.

The law requires California post-secondary schools:
  • to adopt policies concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking that include certain elements, including an affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by a complainant.
  • to the extent feasible, to enter into memoranda of understanding or other agreements or collaborative partnerships with on-campus and community-based organizations to refer students for assistance or make services available to students.
  • to implement comprehensive prevention and outreach programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Key definitions:
  • “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. 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. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.
  • ...it shall not be a valid excuse that the accused believed that the complainant affirmatively consented to the sexual activity if the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances:
(A) The complainant was asleep or unconscious.
(B) The complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity. 
(C) The complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.
At first glance these standards appear to be consistent with existing laws governing sexual assault. So, California's play here ties state funding, down to the level of financial aid to students in private colleges, to the adoption and implementation of campus policies regarding informed consent for sexual contact and consistent standards of information about consent, prevention of nonconsensual sexual contact,  and when necessary, aftercare for victims of sexual assault.

I see nothing here that can't or shouldn't be the subject ongoing education for teenagers and children in families, community organizations and faith-centered youth groups.

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