Last week, The California Legislature passed the “Yes Means Yes” consent bill. This is a step aimed at limiting sexual assaults on college campuses. California colleges who receive state funding will soon begin implementing new sexual consent policies. The law stipulates that a person must communicate an “unambiguous yes” to sex and further states that someone cannot give consent if they are drunk or unconscious. This should be obvious, but we know from looking at the statistics that it is not, and there are plenty of assaults against women that occur under these circumstances.
It’s too bad that we have to resort to legislation to get young adults to clearly communicate with each other when it comes to sexual intimacy, but I’m 100% behind this college sex consent law.
Not a New Problem
Recently, there have been several articles and discussions in the media focused on the issue of campus rape. The statistics on college sexual assault are always startling to those who do not work in the field of sexual assault intervention and prevention:
- One in four to one in five women are sexually assaulted during their undergraduate years. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
- 90% of the victims of rape and sexual assault on college campuses know their assailants. (National Institute of Justice)
- Freshman and sophomores are at a greater risk for victimization than juniors and seniors. (The Campus Sexual Assault Study)
- Sexual assaults are more likely to occur in September, October, and November. (The Campus Sexual Assault Study)
- Nearly three quarters (72%) of victims experience their rape while intoxicated (Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs)
So here’s my short list of safety tips for anyone (especially college students) attending parties: (If you want more information, schedule an Esteem “About Last Night” seminar to explore how miscommunication impacts student life on campus.)
- When you go to a party, don’t go alone. Be sure to use a buddy system so that you’ve got someone watching out for you (and vice versa).
- Never drink the punch. The punch is often loaded with alcohol and there’s no way of knowing how potent it is.
- If you drink anything at a party, never leave your glass unattended.
- Don’t have sex with anyone without hearing “yes” – and a drunken yes doesn’t count.
- Don’t have sex with anyone who is obviously intoxicated (see previous tip).
Please share this information with any college student you know. It could make the difference between having a fun social experience at college and becoming a perpetrator or victim of assault.
To learn more about Esteem’s assault prevention programs for colleges, visit our website.