California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that the state became the first nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow during sexual assault investigations.
Bill SB967 was approved last month by Kevin de Leon, (D-Los Angeles) in response to the crackdown on universities to change how they handle reports of rape. Brown signed the bill on Sunday.
From USA Today:
Rather than using the refrain “no means no,” the definition of consent under the bill requires “an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” by each party to engage in sexual activity.
The measure will apply to all colleges and universities accepting state financial aid.
The proposal requires all colleges taking student financial aid funding from the state to agree that in investigations of campus sexual assaults, silence or lack of resistance does not imply a green light for sex, and that drunkenness is not an acceptable defense, the San Jose Mercury-News reported earlier in August.
On Sunday, De Leon spoke on the importance of the bill.
“Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy,” De Leon said in a statement Sunday night. “The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”
“With this measure, we will lead the nation in bringing standards and protocols across the board so we can create an environment that’s healthy, that’s conducive for all students, not just for women, but for young men as well too, so young men can develop healthy patterns and boundaries as they age with the opposite sex,” de Leon said before the vote.
So what is consent? According to the bill, exactly what it’s been forever.
The legislation says silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. Under the bill, someone who is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep cannot grant consent.
Advocates for victims of sexual assault supported the change as one that will provide consistency across campuses and challenge the notion that victims must have resisted assault to have valid complaints.
Seems like common sense, but if sexual assault statistics are any indication, this legislation was the brush-up course many universities (and individuals) needed.
Read more about the bill, here.