Recent California Law May Have Impact in Texas

Mason Meyers, Staff Writer

Rape and sexual assault are hot button issues among society today, and California has passed a law that might change the discussion on this topic.

On Oct. 11, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that makes it easier to define when sexual assault or rape has occurred.

The law states, “Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.”

This new law takes a different approach to the typical “No Means No” stance that most states have on the books. Not only does lack of protest or silence have no defense according to the law, but also consent has to be constant throughout the entire activity, erasing most ambiguity is normally brought into court cases involving sexual assault and rape.

The law also requires that colleges receiving state funding have policies covering more than a dozen situations that can arise in sexual assault cases. With this law in California, other states will begin talking about reforming or adding to the laws concerning rape. As far as Texas is concerned, there are no clauses stating that silence or lack of protest means consent or that consent needs to be given throughout an entire sexual activity.

“I think this is a large step in the right direction,” Texas A&M University-Commerce student Alex Rudolph said. “I just hope that Texas follows suit.”

Colleges are hot spots when it comes to sexual assault cases. Just this year, the Department of Education has investigated at least 55 colleges and universities for violating federal law in their handling of sexual violence and harassment cases. It is said that one in every five female college students are sexually harassed.

“It is a big deal, and I’m glad something is finally being done about it,” Rudolph said. “Maybe soon, every college student can feel safe knowing that the laws are actually starting to protect them.”