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PR: Affirmative Consent Policies Eliminate the Presumption of Innocence, Critics Charge

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Contact: Gina Lauterio



Affirmative Consent Policies Eliminate the Presumption of Innocence, Critics Charge

WASHINGTON / July 14, 2015 – Following recent passage of a law in New York on campus sexual assault, Affirmative Consent policies are coming under fire from civil rights and legal experts. The New York law will require that “clear affirmative agreement” be expressed before any sexual activity occurs between two students.

Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties group, notes that Affirmative Consent policies serve to promote a “guilty until proven innocent” mindset.

In her June 27 column, New York Times contributing writer Judith Shulevitz decried the notion of making “sex a crime under conditions of poor communication.” Her article quoted Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk who chided Affirmative consent as an “unworkable standard.”

In her July 1 column, ‘Affirmative Consent’ Will Make Rape Laws Worse, Megan McArdle charges Affirmative Consent will make it more difficult to prosecute an offender because predators can “always insist they got that affirmative consent.

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly openly ridiculed the New York law in her July 9 broadcast: “But it has gotten to the point of ridiculousness. Verbal consent, every step of the way?” Kelly also deplored how Affirmative Consent policies “almost entirely eliminate the rights of men.

The Community of the Wrongly Accused website noted that a determination of consent cannot be based on the after-the-fact feelings of the accuser. “Such a standard not only is grossly unjust and unconstitutional, it doesn’t work,” the July 8 editorial notes

Constitutional attorney Hans Bader has warned of persons who use affirmative consent to “seek even more power over people’s private lives.

“‘No-means-no’ has long been the accepted standard for sexual consent,” notes SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “But now campus zealots are trying to destroy basic notions of fairness in a rush to outlaw 99% of sex acts.”

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is working to promote effective solutions to campus sexual assault: