Here’s what I like about the California’s, yes means yes law. I think it’s uncovered and made plain that we have in our culture the belief that coercion and assault are some how ok even romantic. I had someone tell me the other day there’s no such thing as rape culture. Yes there is and it exists every time someone says that consent is unimportant. I want two things to happen. First and foremost I want to codify minimal good behavior. I’m sorry dude, but if your partner isn’t willing and able to communicate there willingness and enthusiasm, it’s assault and you need to know that. Shockingly, not everyone understands this. Even so, it’s still rape. It’s been said over and over again that this law will ruin “good men” here’s a clue Sherlock, if these men (by the way lets not assume that sexual violence is perpetrated exclusively by men) are having sex without obtaining consent they’re not “good men” they’re rapists. And yes, rape is incredibly common. Just ask the millions of women who have been raped.
Secondly there’s a segment of our population that isn’t used to and hasn’t been taught to give positive consent. Let me be really ultra clear here. This does not mean the victims of sexual assault are to blame in any way. There is no excuse for rape ever, under any circumstances. And our culture of victim-blaming is a whole other blog post. But I do want to say, that we want people to experience the fullness and meaning of sex and this can not be had through begrudging passive non-resistance to something that is happening to you. Sex is not an “opt out” experience. It’s an experience to be actively embraced. I think that as a society we need to make that statement.
At the end of the day we’re not going to catalogue all the ways people can be victimized. We’re going to make a single profound statement. That the only way to have sex is if both partners agree enthusiastically. If this is beyond you say no (or nothing at all). Control your drinking and substance use. Even if you find a willing sober partner, you are too impaired to have sex yourself. You can’t give consent if you are drunk or high. This might also cut down on any “miscommunication”. For the record those are sarcastic quotes. We need to have this conversation in America. We need to let people who support rape culture have their say so they can be answered and judged. We need to bring a light to the mountains of disinformation, myths, lies, and cultural relics. Finally, we need to encourage positive pro-social behavior.