On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced he signed the first bill of its kind to define when “yes means yes.” The bill requires all California state colleges and universities to adopt a policy of a clear-cut, affirmative consent by students who engage in sexual activity.
Last month, California State Senate voted to approve SB967, composed by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, which defines consent as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.”
The bill is a result of an intense focus on sexual assault across college campuses.
“Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy,” De Leon said in a statement Sunday night. “The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We’ve shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing.”
The new bill clearly states silence or lack of consent does not constitute consent. Also, if an individual is drunk, drugged, sleep or unconscious, the individual cannot give consent.
In addition to unambiguously defining consent, the new legislation requires training for faculty in charge of reviewing complaints so that victims are not questioned inappropriately, while filing complaints. It also requires access to counseling, health care services and other resources.
This is the first bill in the country to make affirmative consent language an essential principle of school sexual assault polices.