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Debate Score:4
Total Votes:4
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California's affirmative Consent law. Agree or disagree with it?

From the language of the Bill:

"An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent."


Side Score: 1


Side Score: 3
1 point

Sounds pretty thorough to me. Technically, it says that prior consent is not current consent, but I think it should be worded to clarify that just because they agreed to sex with you earlier that night, does not give the right to have sex with them when they are passed out on your bed. I mean it IS basically in there, I just wish it was a little more clear.

Otherwise, it works for me.

Side: Agree
2 points

I have a few points of contention with the Affirmative Consent Law in California

1) The law shifts the onus on to Universities.

Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes, and ought to be investigated and handled by law enforcement agencies, not university administrators. Universities are not well suited to handle these investigations, and they have a terrible track record of mishandling sexual assault and rape cases. Universities are under intense pressure to crack down of campus sexual assaults but this has resulted in cutting corners resulting in the violation of due process rights of both Accuser and Accused.

"In the suit, filed in federal court today, four MSU female students detail how MSU routinely delayed investigations past its own rules for how long investigations should take. The suit also alleges the delays in investigation and appeals allowed the male students involved to routinely harass the female students who had filed the complaints."

2) Ambiguity over verbal vs non-verbal consent

"The law’s defenders, such as feminist writer Amanda Hess, dismiss as hyperbole claims that it would turn people into unwitting rapists every time they have sex without obtaining an explicit “yes” (or, better yet, a notarized signature) from their partner. Hess points out that consent can include nonverbal cues such as body language. Indeed, the warning that “relying solely on nonverbal communication can lead to misunderstanding,” included in the initial draft of the bill, was dropped from later versions. Yet even after those revisions, one of the bill’s co-authors, Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that the affirmative consent standard means a person “must say ‘yes.’

"two college seniors who've been in a loving relationship since they met during the first week of their freshman years, and who, with the ease of the committed, slip naturally from cuddling to sex, could fail its test."

3) Ambiguity over what constitutes 'affirmative' consent

If Affirmative consent includes affirmative consent, then what sort of non-verbal cues count as consent and under what circumstances? Is a passionate response to a kiss, consent? Is passivity evidence of nonconsent? If one partner lays back and lets the other partner "do all the work", what non-verbal cue in this situation should we construe as consent, or is this rape? If two are participating in a fetish, bound and gagged, what non-verbal cue should be construed as consent? If one partner tells the other they are okay with being woken up with oral sex in the morning, if prior consent is not current consent is fulfilling this wish rape?

"Nonverbal cues indicating consent are almost certainly present in most consensual sexual encounters. But as a legal standard, nonverbal affirmative consent leaves campus tribunals in the position of trying to answer murky and confusing questions"

Side: Disagree
1 point

Well I'm not in the position to agree or disagree, because I'm not American. But I think this law is terrible. It's even worse than some of our laws, and that's an acheivment. Expect x10 more lawsuits and x10 as many people having their life ruined by being labelled "rapists". Sewing discord between men and women is part of a disgusting political game.

Side: Disagree