Yes really does mean yes.
For the first time, a state—in its totality—will no longer allow schools to "sweep rape cases under the rug." Gov. Jerry Brown signed a "groundbreaking piece of legislature" on Sunday requiring all state-funded school to adopt an "affirmative consent" standard in their sexual assault policies.
And with this, California became the first state that requires schools follow certain steps when investigating a rape case on campus. The "Yes means yes" law defines sexual assault under SB967, to take a clear and ongoing consent in rape cases rather than an absence of resistance, according to Reuters. While many school already have such a policy in place, California made it universal.
"The affirmative consent standard will help change the re-victimizing, insensitive reporting procedures, instead allowing students to seek help and hold perpetrators accountable," Meghan Warner, member of the Cal Consent Campaign at University of California, Berkeley, said in a recent statement. "This is a major victory for all California students, not just survivors."
With an increased number of sexual assaults happening on campuses across the country, activists have been pressing schools to enforce disciplinary actions and support a higher standard. And with California's new law comes training requirements for school staff. They will be taught how to intervene in potential cases of sexual assault and how to then take disciplinary action against the perpetrators. The law also requires that counseling and health services are extended to victims of sexual assault.
So will this new law help create a culture of consent?