Good news in the country’s fight to end campus sexual assaults—yesterday the California State Assembly passed the nation’s first “Yes Means Yes” bill. First passed by California’s State Senate in May, the bill changes the standard for what sexual consent is.
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Here’s what you need to know about Senate Bill 967: It sets a standard of requiring “affirmative consent” in sexual assault cases. Essentially that means that people need to affirm to each other either verbally or physically that they wanted to have sex with one another. Before this bill, many college campuses went by the “No Means No” mantra, which left the person alleging that they had been sexually assaulted penalized for not specifically saying that they didn’t want to have sex. Another win in the bill? “Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent.”
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The bill is still waiting for California’s governor to sign it into law. “If the governor signs it, this will lead the entire country, the nation,” Senator Kevin de Leon, the bill’s sponsor told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s very difficult to say no when you’re inebriated or someone slips something into your drink.” He referred to the bill as a “paradigm shift.”