California Lawmakers Updating State’s Definition of ‘Consent’?


Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

A bill introduced in California on Monday would enshrine “affirmative consent” into state law — essentially, requiring college students to obtain explicit consent before engaging in sexual activity. State Sen. Kevin de León (D), the primary sponsor of the legislation, believes that updating the definition of consent for on-campus rape cases will help remove some of the current burden that’s placed on victims. The criminal approach to rape cases typically requires the victim to prove that they said “no.” Affirmative consent, however, is the central tactic in a cultural shift that requires both sexual partners to say “yes” in order for their following encounter to be considered consensual. Instead of requiring a woman to constantly police her boundaries, this approach requires her partner to simply ask first instead of assuming that it’s okay to keep going. “The measure will change the equation so the system is not stacked against the survivors,” de León explained in a press conference this week. “There’s nothing that’s vague, there’s nothing that’s ambiguous to this equation right here.”

State Senator Kevin de Leon

State Senator Kevin de Leon

The proposed legislation would prevent alleged rapists from citing drunkenness or drug use as a defense for not realizing that the sexual encounter wasn’t consensual. It also strengthens victims’ rights to remain anonymous after they report a sexual crime on campus, and requires California universities to maintain relationships with rape crisis centers that can be available to assist victims. So far this year, California lawmakers have been particularly focused on policy solutions to address colleges’ inadequate sexual assault policies, following headlines about Occidental College’s failures in this area. Last month, a lawmaker in the state’s General Assembly introduced a different bill that would crack down on colleges that fail to report rape cases in an attempt to avoid bad publicity. This isn’t an issue specific to California; across the country, student activists have been rallying to demand better sexual assault policies on campus. Just 12 percent of Americans think that higher education institutions are doing a good job responding to rape cases. At the end of January, President Obama announced the creation of a new federal task force that will be responsible for recommending a better way forward on this issue. tara-culp-resslerRape prevention advocates agree that tackling the issue of sexual assault among students requires proactive strategies to educate students about how to negotiate consent. Many student groups have taken it upon themselves to hold events and run campaigns that emphasize consent, but the issue also needs backing from college administrations. That doesn’t necessarily require a lot of effort on the university’s end. For instance, Yale recently garnered praise for sending out a memo that clarified the school’s definition of consent and offered specific examples of the correct way to obtain consent for students’ reference. Tara Culp-Ressler Think Progress


  1. nash984954 says

    Oddly, too many men actually believe they are entitled to ‘hit-on'(with the sexual bit part of what they feel is their entitlement) every attractive women they meet, but then they wonder why they are met with such coldness and hosility, and never consider that if every man is hitting on every women due to their mistaken sense of entitlement, that the woman may have just turned away 20 men’s unwanted encroachments or ‘hit- ons’ by the men she met that day, which likely is at her place of work, which forces her in compromising situations, especially if any of the men are her boss, etc.
    Often when in the 60s in high school, guys would do anything to get sex with a girl, but then if they succeeded, they’d go around and brag to all about the girl having sex with them, essentially ruining her reputation. For with those guys, the female was doomed from the start, if she says no, she’s a prude, and if she says yes, then guys lose respect for her, saying such awful things aloud to all, ‘F**K her’ I did, like it’s some big joke. I never liked those guys, and as a result most friends I had were females(I had way more in common with females) and those same guys accused me of trying to side with the females to get myself laid, which only they could come up with, cuz’ that’s what they would do, and how they think. And while I was made happy sexually due to a couple of times hooking up with my female friends, I didn’t ever kiss and tell, for it was between she and I, no one else.

    I have loved the ladies my whole life, and IMHO, there iare no ‘ugly’ women, for often if you look closely enough you’ll find the beauty in that woman sooner or later. It may be a cute stratgically placed freckle, or their button nose, perhaps their distinctive eyes, maybe their dimples, but you do have to take the time to look.

  2. nash984954 says

    In Israel, 2010, an Arab man lied about being Jewish, which led this Jewish woman to consent to having sex with him. Later it was revealed he wasn’t Jewish but was in fact an Arab, the woman then charged him with rape, which the Israeli courts upheld, saying he lied. But then don’t all MEN, especially as teens and young men, at some point in their lives lie their asses off to prospects for having sex while hoping they get ‘lucky.’ How can that(lying)be a basis for so called criminal acts such as rape? This is not like a woman beginning with consent and then changing her mind, just before penetration, but she did agree and did have coitus with the Arab man for whom she later claimed she didn’t consent to.

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