As you may be familiar with most states use the ‘No Means No’ policy in response to sexual assault and rape on college campuses.
In ‘No Means No’ the burden of proof lies on the accusing, meaning it is up to the assaulted individual to provide evidence of some sort of resistance to their attack. Clearly there is a problem with this. Recently in 2014, a new policy was adopted in California to prevent ambiguity in sexual assault and rape cases across college campuses.
Roughly 800 colleges and universities have changed their policy to reflect the ‘Yes Means Yes‘ campaign. The new policy requires affirmative verbal consent from both parties. If this verbal consent is not present, the sexual act is deemed as assault or rape. Consent is also null if either party is unconscious, under the influence of drugs or alcohol and/or not voluntarily giving such consent. The ‘Yes Means Yes’ policy is designed to prevent ambiguity in sexual assault and rape cases as well as simplify the consent policy to make it easier to identify sexual assault and rape. The same movement developed another project pushing women to use their voices. The Hollaback! Project was created to give a platform to those affected by cat- calling to speak out. It is a prevalent issue that fights the widely accepted issue of the notion ‘boys will be boys’ in regards to cat-calling and more importantly sexual violence. Both of these movements encourage individuals to use their voices when it comes to consent, whether that be in concern to sexual assault or street harassment. Granted, this new policy may not be perfect by any means, but it is a step in the right direction towards ending sexual violence.