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Affirmative Consent

PR: Affirmative Consent — NY Times Article Elicits Derision and Outrage

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Contact: Gina Lauterio


Affirmative Consent — NY Times Article Elicits Derision and Outrage: ‘We have let the radicals hijack this issue’

WASHINGTON / October 16, 2015 – A recent New York Times article about affirmative consent, “Sex Ed Lesson: ‘Yes Means Yes,’ But It’s Tricky,” is triggering a strong negative public response. The article details the confused reactions of California high school students who are being instructed to ask permission for sexual activities every 10 minutes, or risk being adjudged guilty of rape. (1)

The highest-rated reader reaction to the NYT account deplored how “The yes-means-yes standard turns almost all of us into rapists. We have let the radicals hijack this issue with disastrous results for innocent young people.” (2)

Another reader commented ironically, “As far as I can tell, the new ‘affirmative consent’ paradigm allows for a very realistic possibility of two adults raping each other at the same time, which makes a mockery of the whole concept of rape.”

The NYT article has triggered numerous editorials, as well. Washington Examiner writer Ashe Schow charged, “If you don’t have sex the way the government tells you to, you’re a rapist.” (3) Columnist Blake Neff wrote, “some kids are getting the impression they need to set a timer during their intimate encounters to make sure their casual hookup doesn’t accidentally become a rape.” (4)

“Affirmative consent betrays the victims of sexual assault by removing the element of force,” charges SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Lawmakers who are serious about stopping rape should be working to remove these cases from the campus sex tribunals and send them to local law enforcement.”

On August 4, judge Carol McCoy overturned a decision of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to expel a student on allegations of sexual assault. McCoy ruled the university “improperly shifted the burden of proof…Absent the tape recording of a verbal consent or other independent means to demonstrate that consent was given, the ability of an accused to prove the complaining party’s consent strains credulity and is illusory.” (5)

SAVE has compiled extensive information about the shortcomings of affirmative consent policies. (6)

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