The feminist agenda has long promoted the “my body, my choice” agenda. But that slogan seems strangely at odds with California’s SB 967, the affirmative consent law. It’s been nicknamed “yes means yes”, a supposedly less ambiguous law than “no means no”. It is being applied to all publicly-funded universities within the state of California.
An agenda that previous made quite clear they wanted the government to stay out of people’s bedrooms is now inviting college administrations into bed with their students. “Yes means yes” requires that partners give explicit consent to sexual activities, instead of just stopping unwanted behaviors. The judge and jury who reviews this crime has become the school.
While the concept behind the law, making sure your partner is on the same page with physical contact, is a good one; making it a punishable offense is not. The reasons are almost too numerous to list. Let’s start with the obvious: how will this bill stop rape? If someone wouldn’t stop when told “no” why would they bother asking for a “yes”? Now any jury hearing a college rape case will have to rely on hearsay from both parties and hope there was a witness to this consent. (And let’s be real, it is the women who will get the benefit of the doubt in these cases.) While the bill does not specifically rule out a non-verbal consent, it would be even harder to prove that this look, or this touch signified a willingness to have sex–even if in the moment it would have been obvious.
Oh, and it’s not just that this will be an awkward one time request. The law says consent must be obtained in an on-going manner. That could mean throughout the night, or even throughout an on-going relationship. One failure to get the right level of consent and you could be at risk. Most of us have known of a bad break-up, or a vindictive ex, so imagining these loopholes exploited doesn’t sound too far fetched. With this new law, a single frisky gesture with your girlfriend could end up as sexual assault.
Let’s put aside that someone people enjoy spontaneity and consider the issue of personal choice. Coercion is never okay, we can all agree to that. But the concept of “what happens in my bedroom, stays in my bedroom” has been supported again and again legally. The court has overturned laws against different races having sex, and laws against homosexuality. Americans tend to believe your private life is sacred and not the government’s business. Yet, this law flies in the face of all of that, by forcing students to conform their sex life to a very specific criteria. Further, as Reason points out:
the law establishes the “preponderance of evidence” standard, which mandates convictions for accused students deemed 50.1 percent likely to be guilty by the campus judiciary body.
There must be a better way to prevent rape on campuses. This new law only promotes fear, government intervention and the most awkward conversations ever. But the biggest problem might be leaving your guilt in the hands of a public school administration. If I were a high school senior, I would think twice before picking a school in California.