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California

California Enacts ‘Yes Means Yes’ Law, Defining Sexual Consent

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that makes California the first in the nation to have a clear definition of when people agree to sex. The law goes further than the common “no means no” standard, which has been blamed for bringing ambiguity into investigations of sexual assault cases.

The new law seeks both to improve how universities handle rape and sexual assault accusations and to clarify the standards, requiring an “affirmative consent” and stating that consent can’t be given if someone is asleep or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. Full Article

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  1. Joe

    I don’t really understand… sexual assault (under whatever applicable name) is an offense punishable under the California Penal Code. As such it is a matter for the Criminal Justice System. Not the University or College. No?

    From the text:

    (1) An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “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.

    https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB967

    Exactly what is “Affirmative Consent”? A coy look? A furtive nod? A ‘thumbs up’ selfie? An audio recording spelling out in detail the impending and agreed upon activity? A notarized written agreement? And “Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” At what interval? Every 10 seconds? Do ecstatic shouts of “yes” count? Were they really meant in that context?

    I never thought the day would come I am thankful to be an old fart…

    • td777

      Basically, this law suggests that a couple in the heat of the moment should actually take the time to get a verbal affirmative, as if her placing her(or his) hand on certain body parts doesn’t already do that. In other words, this law is a joke and just another example of our government wasting time and money on something pointless in order to continue the madness that is the sex offender hysteria.

      • Anonymous Nobody

        Yes, this is bad as a law. The idea might be good in teaching proper conduct, but as a law it is bad for any number of reasons.

        For one, the consent is meaningless unless it is put into writing — and can you imagine doing that?

        Consider, if you were to have sex with someone believing it was consensual, and they made all the moves to suggest so, but they never said so, and later they field a complaint against you — then how is it proved or not that there was or was not consent, its your word against their’s? Now, consider that you did specifically ask, and you did get verbal consent — and then they file a complaint against you anyway — how will you defend yourself. it will simply be your word against their’s anyway.

        Some lawyers have already said that this means you have to get it in writing — because you cannot defend otherwise.

        What this does is interfere in LEGITIMATE passion while also making it harder to defend against false accusations — and unfortunately, such false accusations get made too often. Yes, of course there are real violations, but there also are false accusations.

        I’m not clear on how this law is to be used. I don’t think this involves the standard in court to get a conviction — for how could they have a different standard for a university student than for everyone else. I think it is simply the standard a university must use to decide whether to report the matter to police, and maybe force the university to expel a student.

        Oh, and god forbid you go to dinner first and have a couple glasses of wine — once you do that, any consent coming later is invalid! Gee, drinking is a required subject when in college, and clubs and bars are a major place to find a partner. That standard will pretty much nix any consent any college student gets. Of course, they are talking of someone “incapacitated” but drinking. But still.

  2. Eric Knight

    I wonder how many retroactive complaints will be coming out of the woodwork for past encounters? I would imagine there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of such complaints that could be put forth based upon this legislation alone. This law seems rife with the potential for women to make easy money or score easy victimization points with false accusations from years, perhaps decades ago.

    • td777

      I couldn’t agree more…if it weren’t for the fact that this targets college campuses specifically, I think almost every man in California who has at any point been sexually active would suddenly become very nervous, and rightfully so.

  3. Brubaker

    It figures..california of all places..probably college students will have to use the wrestler Daniel Bryan catch phrase loud and clear when its hoochie coochie ..YES..YES..YES..YES..YES..!!!!!!!

  4. Joe

    Every coin has 2 sides now doesn’t it.

    Fallout from campus sexual assault hysteria: College men now suspicious of women

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/fallout-from-campus-sexual-assault-hysteria-college-men-now-suspicious-of-women/article/2552346

  5. Haha

    It helps with population control…

  6. ab

    This law is ridiculous, and that’s coming from someone without any experience. Let’s flip it around; a man and woman are having sex, the man climaxes before the woman. In this situation the woman should have to ask the man if it’s okay to continue. Actually scratch that because under this law any moment to moment change could require either partner (no matter which genders they happen to be) to ask for consent.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      Actually, that part about consent being withdrawn in the middle of the act — that isn’t really new. People have gone to prison, maybe people at this Website, on rape convictions for not stopping when the woman in the middle of the act says she’s done, stop. The courts have interpreted that that is rape if you don’t stop on a dime, even with consent to start and the fact that you are pretty much beyond the point where you can stop now, just a little more. I’ve read appellate cases on it.

      • Joe

        What you are referring to is “No means No”. Where, indeed, consent can be withdrawn at any time. “Yes means Yes”, on the other hand, requires that “Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity”

        Without, of course, defining what either “affirmative consent” or “ongoing basis” means.

        That it can be revoked is not new.

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