'Yes means yes' standard for sexual encounters in California schools
Boy, am I glad I'm not in college anymore
California has become the first state to adopt a "yes means yes" standard for sexual encounters. The law "would require 'affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement' by each party to engage in sexual activity."
And not just at the outset of the tryst, as this article in the Washington Post explains:
Under the proposed standard, the fact that a person didn’t say “no” is no defense in a campus sexual assault investigation.
In addition to consenting up front, the bill requires affirmative consent to be “ongoing throughout the sexual activity,” meaning that sexual partners must agree to each step of a sexual encounter as it progresses and consent can be revoked at any time. The standard would apply to all sexual encounters regardless of whether the parties are having a one-night stand or are in a long-term relationship.
One thing the bill doesn’t say is that affirmative consent must be verbal. The bill’s original language warned “relying solely on nonverbal communication can lead to misunderstanding,” but that language was removed as was the requirement that consent be “unambiguous.” Nonetheless, as Slate’s Amanda Hess pointed out, this fact was lost on commentators, some who lamented the standard would redefine most sex as rape and would require students to agree to a verbal or written contract before sex.
I predict that thousands of young men's lives are going to be ruined by this idiotic law. Every sexual encounter will be a crap shoot for the man. All sorts of scenarios come to mind that would place a male student's life in the hands of a woman. Is she out for revenge? Is she crazy? Does she have an agenda?
Even after penetration, the woman can change her mind and accuse a man of rape? Madness.
While the bill doesn’t spell out what “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement” looks like in practice, it’s very clear what doesn’t count as consent: lack of protest or resistance, silence, unconsciousness or being asleep or too intoxicated to understand what’s going on.
A woman not being conscious or too drunk to make a rational decision is one thing. But if there's no protest, or resistance, or the woman is silent, how does a man have a clue what's on her mind? And with no verbal assent being required, how is it possible for a man to realize his actions constitute rape or assault?
"No means no" was a perfectly rational, unambiguous policy. This new policy will make rapists out of men who either can't read a woman's body language (most college age men are too inexperienced to do so), or are with a woman who is, herself, unsure how far she wants the sexual emcounter to go.
The best rape prevention is banning the use of alcohol and drugs among students - men and women. Such a policy would prevent the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults that occur on campus. But beer and liquor companies spend millions on college campuses every year to promote their products, filling the coffers of universities across the country. So the one move that would almost eliminate sexual crimes against women won't be adopted because of the money involved.
The policy discriminates against men, criminalizes the act of love, grants overwhelming power to women to destroy men's lives, and places an unfair burden on young adults with little experience to read the mind of their potential partner in order to avoid jail.
Other than that, sounds fine to me.