Yes Means Yes
"Yes Means Yes" & Affirmative Consent
The State-By-State Approach
Members of Congress have pioneered bi-partisan legislation that, if enacted, would hold colleges and universities to a higher standard for ensuring safety on their campuses. These initiatives are currently moving through Congress. However, many survivors are keenly aware that the sooner that these initiatives go into effect, the fewer survivors will experience sexual assault and institutional betrayal.
To this end, survivor activists are now changing laws state by state. Most notably, survivor activists were the driving force behind California and New York’s groundbreaking “Yes Means Yes” and “Enough is Enough laws, as well as the recently-signed affirmative consent education requirement for California’s high schoolers.
By packing hearing rooms, holding press conferences, writing op-eds, and organizing petitions, survivors have stood up to their institutions and successfully fought for new tools to hold them accountable.
Yes Means Yes: A New Standard for College Campuses
In 2014, California garnered widespread attention when Governor Brown signed the nation’s first affirmative consent standard for colleges to use in campus sexual assault cases. The law established that consent is a voluntary, affirmative, conscious, agreement to engage in sexual activity, that it can be revoked at any time, that a previous relationship does not constitute consent, and that coercion or threat of force can also not be used to establish consent. Affirmative consent can be given either verbally or nonverbally. Additionally, the law clarified that a person who is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or is either not awake or fully awake, is also incapable of giving consent.
Yes means yes is a groundbreaking effort. It’s particularly powerful because it empowers colleges and universities to hold perpetrators accountable who assaulted individuals who were either asleep or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.
Most perpetrators of sexual violence are serial perpetrators. Because of this, it’s extremely important for the safety of the campus community that when sexual assaults are reported, that they are taken very seriously by administrators.
Want to make “yes means yes” the law in your state or the policy on your campus? Email Sofie Karasek at skarasek [at] endrapeoncampus.org.
If you have any additional questions about EROC’s affirmative consent initiatives, please be in touch with Jess Davidson at jdavidson [at] endrapeoncampus.org