How California's "yes means yes" bill addresses campus sexual assault

In investigating complaints of sexual violence, colleges would have to define affirmative consent as: “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,” the text of the legislation reads. “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.”

The bill also makes it clear that intoxication can’t be used as an excuse for believing there was consent…

“In real life, consent can be implied, or manifested through acquiescence, rather than conveyed ‘affirmatively’ in advance,” writes Mr. Bader in an e-mail to the Monitor. “Mutually enjoyed activity should not be classified as sexual assault merely because rituals of affirmative consent did not precede it.”

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