October 17, 2014

When is sex consensual?

There is a swirl of confusion surrounding this topic at the moment, and the recently adopted “Yes Means Yes” law, which applies directly to all college campuses in California, should help clear some of it up. However, many citizens are still unfamiliar with the legislation or unaware of its definition, so let’s dive in and shed some light on this issue.

Under the new Yes Means Yes law, each party much provide an “affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” to engage in sexual activity. Before, many deferred to the idea of “No Means No” when reviewing sexual assault cases, but “Yes Means Yes” is really much more than that.

If a person remained silent and provided neither a yes nor a no, where would their case fall under the guidelines set forth by “No Means No”? It’s ambiguous, and that’s a problem. With “Yes Means Yes,” however, each party must verbally agree in a positive, non-ambiguous fashion, eliminating any question marks and leaving less doubt in the unfortunate instance that one party feels assaulted or mistreated.

Drunkenness is no longer a viable excuse. A lack of resistance is not, either. The despicable claim that “She was asking for it”? No longer valid.

With “Yes Means Yes,” California has redefined the way we look at sexual assault cases on college campuses, and now we’re taking a quantifiable, realistic step toward bucking the “one in four” statistic that plagues our nation. The improvements therein will push colleges to toughen their guidelines surrounding sexual assault, and it will also provide law enforcement with a more solid foundation to base their charges upon.

Even better, it just might encourage better communication between two adults before engaging in sexual activity, and that would propel us toward real change. That’s at the core of this issue, and more open, honest communication from the get-go could eliminate many of the problems before they become full-blown court cases.

Thankfully, “Yes Means Yes” is pushing us in that direction. It’s moving us toward a safer future, and that’s a future I want for all of us, a future I think we all deserve.

903799_10151518166232770_869680847_oIf you’re in the San Diego or Imperial County region and you’re interested in learning more about this topic, visit South Bay Community Services, a Chula Vista-based organization which offers domestic violence resources and education as well as a 24-hour hotline for those in need.  Additionally, San Diego’s Center for Community Solutions and Community Resource Center are leaders in the fight against this issue, creating healthier, safer communities by emphasizing proper treatment for and prevention of sexual assault and relationship violence.

Use these resources, learn the laws, and always make your partner’s interest your top priority. Yes Means Yes is taking us where we want to go, but we’ve not reached our destination quite yet. It will take dedication, education, and implementation to get there, but the payoff will be well worth the hard work.

Let’s get there safely, together, as a bonded community. Let’s use Yes Means Yes as the impetus for something even greater.

0625_AHF_Nancy-SQ-500Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director
Alliance Healthcare Foundation





About Alliance Healthcare Foundation

Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.

To learn more about AHF visit:   AHF on Facebook, AHF on LinkedinAHF on Google+, AHF on Youtube, AHF on Twitter

To learn more about our grantees visit here: AHF’s Grantee Page 


Let’s get there safely, together, as a bonded community. Let’s use Yes Means Yes as the impetus for something even greater.


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