Thursday, June 26, 2014

California consent law drives media nuts because they are stupid

“You're in the heat of the moment, rounding third, but then you must stop and ask, Can I have your verbal or written consent to have sex with you?”

That’s the first sentence from the L.A. Weekly.

“A bill making its way through the California Assembly is attempting to address the problem of rape on college campuses by mandating “affirmative consent”—a verbal or written yes—before engaging in sexual activity.”

That’s the first sentence from the Daily Beast.

What’s funny about both those quotes is how wrong, wrong, wrong the analysis of the bill actually is.  Oh yeah, here’s the bill.  Ladies and gentlemen, California Senate Bill 967:

(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.

Don’t know about you but I don’t see anything written or verbal within the text of the legislation.  I see “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement”, which I would interpret as two people enjoying the moment with each other.  But maybe you’re a law snob.  Maybe your so freaked out about the law that you need to get into the nuts and bolts of what the law is about.  Ok, this might sum it up:

(A) The complainant was asleep or unconscious.

(B) The complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity.

(C) The complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

So what the law really is about is people taking advantage of people in a sexual situation, particularly in college.  It’s fairly clear that those people that are complaining about it didn’t actually read the law, they read the title of someone else’s analysis and then panicked. 

For me it is clear; this law is in response to some serious issues that college campuses are having with rape.  We, as a society, have totally decided to ignore the issue, the consequences of which are becoming more and more prevalent and disturbing.  There is more to this “rape culture” that needs to be addressed.  The hyper-sexualization of women, the plethora of drunken binges, and the necessity for constant attention all contribute to this outrageous social problem.  But this law is pretty much a no-brainer.

And if you are still confused about the sexiness of consent, I’ll let Laci Green take over.   A note; I don’t agree with some of Ms. Green’s ideology on new wave feminism.  But when it comes to sexual awareness and health, there might not be anyone better. 

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