PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608
Email: teristoddard@saveservices.org

April Fool’s Hoax: Affirmative Consent will Harm, Not Help Victims of Sexual Assault, SAVE Says

WASHINGTON / April 1, 2014 – SAVE, a victim-advocacy organization, is charging the “affirmative consent” policy being proposed by the U.S. Department of Education will not help victims. Instead, the unproven policy is likely to end up harming rape victims, SAVE says.

Recently the Department of Education (DED) proposed a new regulation mandating “affirmative, unambiguous, and voluntary” consent between college students desiring to engage in sexual relations: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2012/vawa-2draftregs.doc

“Affirmative consent” means both parties would need to give their explicit, verbal consent at every step in the process of engaging in sex, according to a bill recently introduced in California: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB967

SAVE urgently requests policymakers to consider the reality of a serial rapist in search of a victim:

First, there is no plausible reason to suppose that a requirement for “affirmative, unambiguous, and voluntary” consent would in way thwart the assailant.

Next, affirmative consent policies would dramatically expand definitions of sexual assault, resulting in many more persons demanding services. So rape victims will find it more difficult to get help.

Third, affirmative consent polices do not require sexual assault cases to be reported to law enforcement authorities. As a result the rapist could be expelled from college, but not face time behind bars. SAVE believes mere expulsion from college to be a woefully inadequate punishment for rape.

The existence of “affirmative consent” policies are also likely to lull students into a false sense of security, leaving them less likely to take protective measures such as locking doors or walking in pairs at night.

“Affirmative consent is good example of what happens when a criminal justice issue is turned into an ideological crusade,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Real victims deserve real protections, not an April Fool’s joke.”

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