Will The Californian ‘Yes Means Yes’ Bill Help Curb The ‘Rape Culture’?

As reported by The Inquisitr, California’s legislators passed a bill pertaining to rising instances of on-campus sexual assaults. Interestingly named the ‘Yes Means Yes’ Bill, the soon-to-be-law mandates universities to adopt “affirmative consent” language in their definitions of consensual sex.

As part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on U.S. campuses, California legislators unanimously passed the bill that has been called as ‘Yes Means Yes’ bill. It essentially outlines the need to have clear affirmative confirmation from both the parties in consensual sex on-campus. The yet-to-be-signed-into-law defines sexual consent between people as “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity”.

In the reverse order, the bill states that silence and a lack of resistance do not signify consent and that drugs or alcohol do not excuse unwanted sexual activity. It simply means consent given under the influence of alcohol doesn’t count. The bill comes amid mounting pressure nationwide by lawmakers, activists and students on universities and colleges to curb sexual assaults on campuses and to reform investigations after allegations are made.

Will the bill help in arresting the rising menace of on-campus assault? The White House has declared sex crimes to be “epidemic” on U.S. college campuses, reported Yahoo. As per recent reports, one in every five students fall victim to sex assault during their college years. However, the bill doesn’t address the concern of forceful sex which amounts to assault. Additionally, the measure, if signed without amendments by the governor, applies only to college campuses and has no impact on existing criminal laws regarding sexual assault.

How does the bill affect the current scenario? In March, the University of California (UC) system announced a revised policy that requires administrators to provide support and protection for victims of sexual assault and more detailed reporting of violence and harassment, reported LA Times. Nearly 50 colleges and universities nationwide, including UCLA, USC and Occidental College, are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual-assault allegations.

If and when the bill becomes a law, it will mandate these universities to dig a lot deeper into sexual assault complaints. Moreover, these universities will have to be much more sensitive towards the victim and ensure that the victim is safeguarded by designing appropriate policies.

Under California’s ‘Yes Means Yes’ bill, state-funded colleges and universities will have to adopt stricter policies regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, among other actions in order to receive financial aid money. All in all the ‘Yes Means Yes’ bill is expected to reel in the ‘rape culture’ that is increasing on college campuses.

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