California Legislators Pass Affirmative Consent Bill to Combat Campus Sexual Assault
California legislators passed a bill last week that would require state colleges and universities to adopt a standard of unambiguous, affirmative consent for students who engage in sexual activity.
SB 967 is the first of its kind. It defines affirmative consent as: "Affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." Affirmative consent does not include silence, lack of resistance, or "consent" given while intoxicated, and the consent has to be continually given throughout the sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. All people involved in the sexual activity must ensure that they have the affirmative consent of others.
The bill will radically change the current standard of proving sexual assault, which requires victims of sexual assault to demonstrate that they did not consent.
"Rape culture dictates that along with proving that they were raped, survivors must also prove that they fought 'hard enough' to stop it," Autostraddle reports. "Not saying 'no' or not physically fighting someone off is understood to mean 'yes'... By not accepting silence as consent, California's affirmative consent bill nudges colleges away from rape culture and provides protection for marginalized groups."