UPDATE: Just a few weeks after the California State Legislature passed the bill that would require colleges to use "affirmative consent" language in their policies dealing with sexual violence on campus, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the bill has been signed into law. Read on below to see how this legislation will change things for college students from San Diego to San Francisco.
California is about to make history with the passage of a bill that will completely change how colleges and universities deal with sexual violence on campus. We break down the details of the monumental legislation below:
1. The bill was passed by the California State Legislature this past Thursday. The votes in the bill's favor were unanimous in the California State Senate—from both Democrats and Republicans. The legislation now heads to the desk of state governor, Jerry Brown, for the final signature needed to be made into law. Once Brown signs, the golden state will be the first in the nation to pass such a law.
2. The law mandates that colleges and universities in the state use "affirmative consent" terminology in their official sexual assault policies. That means consent for a sexual act has to be given by a firm "yes." However, forms of non-verbal consent will still be accepted under the new bill, such as nodding your head or moving in closer.
3. The law specifically targets the flimsy defenses that have been used against victims of sexual assault. This includes construing silence or a lack of a struggle on the victim's part as a go-ahead for the other to move forward. The hope is that such provisions will help to change the norm that a lack of resistance means the attack wasn't a rape or assault.
4. The bill not only deals with consent, but with preventing sexual assault from occurring in the first place. Schools are now required to have broad programs in place that will educate students and help to prevent sexual violence from the start. On top of that, their sexual violence policies must be "victim-centered," meaning they place the utmost importance on protecting and supporting victims of sexual assault or rape.
5. If made into law, the bill will be implemented by all college and universities in the state of California, whether they're public or private. The law is really just catching up to the moves already made by the state's public universities. California's two largest public university systems, The California State University and the University of California already implemented similar policies this past year.