On Aug. 29, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that redefined the meaning of sexual consent on college campuses. Bill SB 967, also known as the “Yes Means Yes” bill, seeks to change how colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases, requiring affirmative consent.
Though the original wording of the bill stated that verbal consent was required from both parties in any consensual sexual encounter, the conservative legislators who opposed the original version of the bill believed that it might’ve been too easy for someone to lie about giving verbal consent. In response, a minor adjustment to the wording of the bill stated that non-verbal consent is still consent, as long it is extremely clear. Non-verbal consent essentially means that a person’s body language show that he or she is giving consent. A separate clause in the bill also addresses this issue, stating that those who serve as judge and jury for rape cases on campuses must be properly trained in the style of “yes means yes,” meaning that they understand the wording of the law and how to put it into practice in order to make fair decisions that do not favor either the victim or the accused.
Abigail 16′ a self-proclaimed feminist, believes that there is work to be done in the education of young people and in the way society views sexual assault cases. She also said that the new law, unfortunately, will not fix the endemic problem of rape culture on college campuses, but it is a serious step in the right direction.
“I don’t think it will make things perfect or change [things] drastically, but it doesn’t hurt the anti-rape cause. I’m just happy to see that something, however minor, is being done to stop the rape epidemic,” Abigail
History and Social Sciences Department Head Michael Rindge said that something needs to change in order to make every student safe on college campuses.
“There’s something that drastically needs to change in terms of the education of young people, young men and boys, about boundaries in a culture that has not done a good job in creating an equality of experience on college campuses where women are often targeted for harassment, stalking and sexual abuse,” Rindge said.