Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Applaud governor for redefining consent to help stem college rape culture
On September 28, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the “yes means yes” bill, redefining consensual sex on college campuses. The bill requires clear, “affirmative consent” from both partners before engaging in sexual activities. A previous ForceChange petition called for an end to rape on college campuses. Though clear, non-verbal consent is acceptable, not resisting, simply remaining silent or giving consent while intoxicated are not considered adequate under the new law. These measures will apply to any California public college or university, as well as those receiving financial aid funds from the state.
The first of its kind, the yes means yes bill hopes to target the countrywide epidemic of sexual assault on campuses. The bill details specific protocol for the handling of complaints about assault, stalking and domestic and date violence as well as assistance for victims. There are federal investigations currently being conducted at nearly 50 colleges and universities across the nation for their mishandling of assault cases.
Under the new bill, consent does not have to be verbal; unambiguous physical consent is enough. The idea is to change the view of rape and assault as more than just unwanted actions accompanied by violence. Someone who doesn’t say “no” and does not actively resist is not necessarily a willing partner, male or female.
Some, like the National Coalition for Men, believe the language in the bill casts too wide a net, saying it, “gives license to false accusations, denies the accused due process, will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits and sets the stage for ruining innocent lives.” According to statistics from One in Four USA, in one year 300,000 college women experience rape. Clearly, the net is already wider than we’d like to admit.
Sign this petition in support of ending college rape culture and giving voice to the many students who did not mean “yes” simply because they did not say “no.”
Dear Governor Brown,
The first of its kind, the yes means yes bill is the first step in stemming college rape culture and giving voice to the hundreds of thousands of students who have suffered an assault on campus. The scope of mishandled sexual assault cases by schools across the nation has recently been brought to the attention of Americans and, with the new bill, California is paving the way for other states to take a stance against sexual assault on their campuses.
I commend the yes means yes bill and California’s efforts to prevent college rape.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Women’s eNews via Flickr
Original petition: Prevent Rape on College Campuses