Outlawing 99% of Sex Encounters: SAVE Urges Lawmakers to Consider the Likely Effects of SB 967

WASHINGTON / March 18, 2014 –Senate Bill 967, which would impose an “affirmative consent” standard on California colleges, will serve to outlaw 99% of campus sex acts. SAVE, a national victim-advocacy organization, invites lawmakers to consider the unintended effects of enacting such a sweeping bill.

SB 967 would institute a stringent—and possibly impractical—standard on all sexual activities, not just sexual intercourse. SAVE notes that SB 967 lacks key definitions about what types of “words or clear, unambiguous actions” would represent legally effective consent, or the how often the parties must “continue to consent to sexual activity.”

The broad scope and definitional uncertainties surrounding SB 967 are likely to have five undesirable consequences:

  1. Assembly-line justice: The law would dramatically increase the number of sexual assault allegations referred to campus disciplinary committees. Campus boards would be pressured to dispose of the glut of cases in a swift manner, thus removing fundamental due process protections from the accused:
  2. Double-standard: The language of SB 967 does not require both partners to give their affirmative consent. Instead, responsibility would likely fall on the male. This would create a “vicious double standard,” according to columnist Wendy McElroy:
  3. Unfounded allegations: A recent study found 65% of alleged rape cases were deemed unfounded by campus police: . Expanding definitions are likely to increase the number of baseless claims.
  4. Lawsuits: Wrongfully expelled persons will likely sue, alleging libel and sex discrimination. Last Tuesday, a federal judge upheld the continuance of such a lawsuit against Xavier College of Ohio:–accused_of_rape_xavie.html
  5. Harm to rape victims: Due to the escalation in the number of sexual assault cases, true victims will encounter inordinate delays in processing their cases. As a result of increases in false allegations, they are likely to face greater skepticism from investigators and university officials. Eventually, rape victims will be less likely to report the assault.

“The California bill would serve to reinforce outmoded stereotypes of indecisive women who are unable to speak their minds on matters of sex,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Peal back the inflammatory ‘rape-culture’ rhetoric, and you’ll find a radical agenda that is hostile to men and women alike.”

See SAVE’s Ten Steps to Turn Any Student into a Sex Offender:

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments—SAVE—is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: