PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Gina Lauterio

Email: glauterio@saveservices.org

The End of Affirmative Consent? SAVE Calls on Lawmakers to Enact Meaningful Solutions to Campus Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON / August 16, 2016 – A recent study on affirmative consent practices found so-called “yes-means-yes” policies bear little relationship to the reality of sexual foreplay among college students. Based on interviews with hundreds of California students, sexual encounters reportedly “just happened” following, for example, a nuzzle of the neck or tug on a partner’s sweatpants (1).

In the wake of a series of judicial, policy, and legislative setbacks, the research casts further doubt on the value of affirmative consent policies, SAVE says.

In March, a federal District Court ridiculed the Brandeis University affirmative consent policy, which also applies to students in long-term committed relationships. Judge Dennis Saylor wrote, “it is absurd to suggest that it makes no difference whatsoever whether the other party is a total stranger or a long-term partner in an apparently happy relationship.” (2)

Previously, a judge had ruled the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s affirmative consent standard was unconstitutional because the rule “erroneously shifted the burden of proof” to the defendant, robbing the student of his due process rights. (3)

In May the membership of the prestigious American Law Institute, by a four-to-one margin, voted down a proposal to make affirmative consent the centerpiece of a proposed overhaul of its Model Penal Code for Sexual Assault. (4)

In July, it was reported that this year, six states have failed to adopt proposed laws requiring colleges to implement affirmative consent policies. The six states are Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Carolina. (5)

Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen charges, “These affirmative-consent rules violate rights of due process and privacy…Unless the guy can prove that his sexual partner affirmatively consented to every single contact, he is presumed guilty of sexual misconduct.” (6)

Disputing the claims of campus activists who claim affirmative consent policies can curb campus rape, columnist Ashe Schow recently wrote, “a standard that allows consensual sex to be reinterpreted or exaggerated into rape does nothing to help real victims.” (7)

SAVE has developed a bill that promotes basic reforms. Titled the Campus Equality, Fairness, and Transparency Act (CEFTA), the bill seeks to curb alcohol abuse on campus and encourages referral of campus sex cases to criminal justice authorities (8).

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SAVE is working for practical and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: www.saveservices.org