California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark piece of legislation on Sunday furthering the move to prevent and properly investigate campus sexual assault across the country.
The new law institutes a “yes means yes” policy at all schools in California that receive funding from the state including all public colleges. This legislation institutes a requirement of consistent consent for students instead of the absence of resistance or consent given while intoxicated. The law shifts the conventional thinking from negative consent and "no means no" to a positive and affirmative approach., The law also requires additional training for sexual assault administrative handling staff in response to a major contention over the flaws in the reporting and hearing procedures at colleges and universities.
California is setting the trend for further legislation in other states as it is the first to pass legislation of this type. California’s law makes “yes means yes” universal in a number of educational institutions across the state.
Bill sponsor State Sen. Kevin de León commented on the signing of the new law as a move from “chatter to action.” He said, "Students at every California college campus will have basic protections to promote prevention, accountability and healing” as a result of the new law.
Governor Brown’s new law comes shortly after President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the “It’s On Us” campaign to continue working towards solutions to the multifaceted problems on college and university campuses when it comes to the frequency and poor handling of sexual assault cases. This initiative aims to adjust the perspective on sexual assault by making it everyone's responsibility to act and prevent these incidents.
Studies show that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while at college. Only 13 percent of rape survivors report their assault.