Disclaimer: This piece reflects the opinion of the author and may not be in line with your own viewpoints.
Senate Bill No. 967!
As you have all probably heard, a new senate bill was passed that put in place the slogan: “Yes means Yes.” Although we might say “well of course yes means yes,” the previous law stated that “no meant no.” The difference in wording may seem insignificant but in fact this change makes a huge difference. Now verbal affirmative consent is required when engaging in sexual action. This little change makes quite an impact on many men and women all over the country because silence is no longer an acceptable form of consent. This bill is especially impactful in the lives of college students because 1 in 5 women will be raped or sexually abused in college, and men too are often taken advantage of or sexually abused as well. When it comes to the legal aspects of the cases in which a victim accuses another of sexual assault or rape, a largely used response is “but with your body you were saying yes” or “but you never said no…” This new bill will clear up the confusion in these cases, which will protect many victims in college and in daily life as well.
In addition to initial verbal consent, affirmative consent is required every time you move on or “ advance” to another sexual act. This bill helps make it easier to self advocate because the silence that one might be stuck in can no longer count as “okay, go ahead.” Due to pressure or fear some people can respond to discomfort by not being responsive, but this bill says that that is no longer an acceptable form of consent.
Sex is supposed to be a positive experience for whoever is involved, and this new senate bill can maintain the security of your own boundaries or desires. You always have the right to say no, however now you also have the right not to say yes.