By Megan G. Razzetti
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 967, also known as the “Yes Means Yes” bill, changing the way sexual assault is investigated on college campuses in the state of California and how consent is defined.
According to section one of the bill, the focus is mainly of “affirmative consent,” meaning all persons involved must have ‘affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.
It also requires all colleges to agree in investigations of campus sexual assaults. Silence or no resistance does not mean consent and that if the victim was under the influence it is not an acceptable defense either.
The bill will help enforce that right actions are taken to ensure the safety of those attending college in California and bring rapists to justice.
Although lawmakers are trying to take action, it really is our own personal responsibility to teach our peers what consent is and how to prevent sexual assaults from continuing on any campus.
Students, staff and faculty must have open dialogue among each other so that questions can be answered and information can be shared.
There are many cases of sexual assault, both reported and unreported, that primarily take place on college campuses. The wrong steps are often taken in prevention and handling these cases.
Last year, Occidental College, a private liberal arts college in Eagle Rock, had a multi-plaintiff lawsuit that was led by eight students and attorney Gloria Allred because of the disgusting treatment the students were given as they reported their sexual assault.
The students alleged that Occidental has discouraged students from coming forward to reports of rape and retaliation against the ones who do report them and allowing alleged rapist to come back to campus.
Instead of taking the necessary actions to thoroughly investigate each case, the college administration gets their feet moving when funding is threatened and a circus of media is in full swing.
It is unacceptable for students, faculty and staff to be in an environment in which there is no support for them when they fall victim to assault.
The college community should feel like a second home for those involved in sexual assault. Instead, victims of assault are fearful of getting the help they need because of the retaliation they believe might happen if they tell someone.
Schools should take action in ensuring their students, faculty and staff are in supportive environment by making counseling services and resources for help more accessible in case of assault.
College is a community in which all have the same goal of getting an education to better their lives in some way.
Students, staff and faculty all put in so much to make a positive learning environment in each institution.
If these assaults are not taken seriously by college administration, then how is anyone going to want to continue being in an unsupportive environment and disrespectful to the people who make up the majority?
The “Yes Means Yes” bill gives a refreshing take on ensuring consent is defined and that is vital for the college community. It creates a positive approach to preventing sexual assault and is a better platform in teaching consent.
The East Los Angeles College Violence Intervention Team (VIC) made up by faculty, staff, community professionals and administrators is available for those looking for help or for additional resources to educate themselves on sexual assault.
Visit the Violence Intervention Center (VIC) located in G7-111 for referrals to places in the community that can give additional support and help that a victim might need.
For those that wish to remain anonymous visit elac.edu/studentservices/vit/ or call VIC at (323) 780-6754.