Calif.'s 'Yes Means Yes' Sexual Assault Bill Signed Into Law
California's so-called "Yes Means Yes" bill was signed into law Sunday by Gov. Jerry Brown. What does this law, the first of its kind in the nation, require?
In response to the growing outcry about sexual assaults on college campuses, California lawmakers in August approved a bill requiring many colleges "to adopt a policy of unambiguous, affirmative consent by students engaged in sexual activity," Reuters reports.
The bill requires both public and private colleges that receive state funds for student aid adopt the policies and protocols outlined in the bill. In addition to the new consent standard, the bill also mandates prevention and outreach programs for sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and date violence, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Earlier this year, the United States Department of Education released a report that found nearly 20 percent of female college students have been sexually assaulted, with only 12 percent of those attacks ever being reported. The department also released a list of 55 schools that were being investigated for failing to properly deal with sexual assault complaints. Among the California schools included on that list were the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.
Under the new law, sexual activity among California college students will require affirmative consent, which the bill calls "conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." The bill also prohibits intoxication -- either on the part of the victim or the accused -- or past sexual or dating activity between the persons engaging in sexual activity from being used to excuse the lack of affirmative consent.