By Karina Tovar, Staff Writer
An amendment to senate bill No.967 was added March 27, 2014which adds sexual assault safety keys and procedures into the Education Code Student Safety on college campuses.
The purpose of the Bill is to increase safety for students and staff members on campus, but some of the gray areas pose for an opportunity of misuse of this bill’s purpose. The safety rules and guidelines now include a section which states verbal consent must be discussed before each sexual contact you have with a person This includes couples who are in a monogamous relationship. Your lover would no longer be able to coo words of affection before showing their love and attraction, but rather, they would have to pause and recite scripted words right between the tickles of foreplay and the ecstasy of sex.
Senators Kevin De Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced the bill that would require governing boards of each community college district to implement new procedures and protocols that will ensure students, faculty, and staff who are victims of sexual assault on institutions properly receive treatment, on and off campus resources, and information. The governing boards of this bill are the Trustees of the California State University, the Regents of the University of California, and the governing boards of independent post-secondary institutions.
The bill covers concerns with on-campus sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, and elements that include an affirmative consent standard which sets a determination of whether consent was given by a complainant.
“Affirmative consent” is the willingness and the clear verbal communicated or unambiguously action communicated willingness between consenting adults to engage in any form of sexual contact. The responsibility of receiving this consent is placed on the person or persons who initiate any form of sexual activity. Anyone looking to satiate any sexual desires should also remember that consent should never be assumed; the lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent was given, and neither does a person’s silence. If anytime during your sexual escapee your partner says to stop, you must immediately disengage in sexual activity, if not, at that moment you lose consent and it becomes a rape.
For these ambiguous reasons, the creators of the bill remind people that relying solely on nonverbal communication holds the means to lead to a misunderstanding.
This Act provides students and staff members with extra measures of security and peace of mind, but it also poses for opportunity of misusing the purpose of the bill. Play out the all too familiar scenario: two consenting individuals engage in sexual activity. To one person, it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship, and to the other, it’s the end of a one night stand. If the individuals engage in sexual activity without first drafting out a consent form, the individual who feels betrayed by their disillusioned partner might wake up feeling like they have the right to call it rape and with this act, they would. The lines between providing enough security and invading personal privacy are beginning to blur and leave a gray area where many could seek refuge in a personal vendetta. This bill may serve a greater purpose, but the feeling of unease as the law leaves for chance of misuse and abuse leaves a feeling of uncertainty for those who prefer to have casual, no strings attached, sexual relationships. The bill acknowledges nonverbal consent but it also warns that this will not hold up if someone decided to cry rape the next morning because you failed to return their 20 calls. More needs to be done to protect student and faculty safety on campus, but these guidelines seem a little too dubious and unrealistic for the vast majority of those already engaging in sexual relationships.