And seriously, read it. I’ve already seen it incorrectly covered by like three news outlets. If somebody comes up with a valid argument against this law that makes more sense than the law itself, then okay. But we cannot allow pundits and other media figures to make misinformed statements about this that persuade their audiences that passing a law that addresses the need for college students to understand consent. To stop that, it’s important to know what the actual law says so that you can correct people who might’ve heard an inaccurate representation of it
Here’re some notable examples of things I’ve seen left out of news coverage of the law, and some preemptive rebuttals to opposition:
1) It applies to rape, but also to “sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking,” involving any student (on or off campus)
2) INB4 “Men’s rights” complaints:
"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." They’re not letting anybody do this to anybody else in schools, regardless of gender or sex.
3) This won’t just make it easier for people to make false accusations to get their enemies in trouble.
(btw, I can’t believe I read that earlier. What the hell?)
"A policy that the standard used in determining whether the elements of the complaint against the accused have been demonstrated is the preponderance of the evidence." means that cases will be decided based on where there’s more evidence. And on that note…
4) It really seems like they’re trying to protect people in situations like this than they are trying to make it easier to get in trouble for sex crimes.
The wording of the law is largely victim-centered, though it does specify that the accused in this situation is also entitled access to resources. In that light, I feel like fears that this is going to result in innocent people getting in trouble are unfounded. Here, look:
"institutions shall, to the extent feasible, enter into memoranda of understanding, agreements, or collaborative partnerships with existing on-campus and community-based organizations, including rape crisis centers, to refer students for assistance or make services available to students, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, and legal assistance, and including resources for the accused.”
5) This won’t cost schools money.
"SEC. 2. If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code."
I’d add something about “How dare you place your worries about the impacts this might make on taxes over the needs of people who have to deal with this kind of horrible situation??” but a) my followers aren’t the kinda people who need to read that, and b) some people just don’t get it, and won’t unless it happens to them or somebody they love. I’m not gonna tell you how to feel. Whatever. That was a weird tangent, but I’m leaving it anyway.
6) INB4 “This was unnecessary, because it’s already the law.”
Kinda, but not really. The existing law said schools have to “adopt and implement written procedures or protocols to ensure that students, faculty, and staff who are victims of sexual assault on the grounds or facilities of their institutions receive treatment and information, including a description of on-campus and off-campus resources.” SB 967 adds a lot of stuff to that, including services for the accused, a provision that makes schools educate some staff about this kind of issue so they’re better-equipped to deal with it, and outreach programs, among other things that I’m sure you’re willing to read for yourself if you’ve read this far.
That being said, I’m still pretty surprised that this wasn’t already a thing. Now, if only they could find a way to extend this kind of protection and outreach to high schools, so we could start raising generations who are more aware of what consent entails…
7) “What if BOTH people are drunk?”
This is a really common question whenever legal definitions of consent are talked about, and anybody who’s read this far might’ve wondered about it by now, so let’s address it.
Okay, so if somebody’s like “Hey, I’ll just get us both drunk, and we’ll finally be free to have the sex!” then that’s them trying to get something without the other person’s consent. The law specifies that cases will be determined by the preponderance of evidence, so if there’s evidence of that, then the accused would likely have to face legal consequences for their sneaky plan.
On the other hand, if two people get drunk and just happen to have sex anyway, I don’t think legal consequences would enter into the equation. People don’t generally accuse eachother of things like rape willy-nilly, and it’s really not uncommon for survivors to go years before opening up about what happened. Technically, anybody who has sex with anybody else who’s deemed unable to give legal consent - even if both parties are legally unable to give consent - is committing rape. But for that to go to court, one of them has to report it. If both agree after the fact that they’re okay with what happened, then there’s no need to pursue legal action, and I guess they both got away with it.
QED it’s technically illegal, but somebody has to be uncomfortable enough with what happened to actually make the report and pursue legal action. I guess the message lawmakers wanna send with this is that you shouldn’t have sex with drunk people, even if you’re drunk too. It really feels like they’re just trying to look out for people who get drunk, and are vulnerable for sex that they can’t legally consent to have. It gives them the power to bring consequences upon people who might be taking advantage of their state, should they choose to do so.
Here’s the link to the full text again: