SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A proposed new law making its way through the California State Legislature would re-define the term "consensual sex" on California college campuses.
Senate Bill 967 would fundamentally change how colleges and universities report cases of sexual assault.
Recent statistics show one out of every five women on any college campus in California will be a victim of some form of sexual assault.
Senate Bill 967 would establish new rules for how public and private colleges deal with sexual assaults on campus.
The main difference from current practice is that responses must be victim centered and adopts the affirmative consent standard that means yes only means yes if its said out loud.
"Doesn't make a difference is you are a large campus, small independent college campus, public or private, you have to have a sense of uniformity", says Democrat State Senator and SB 967 co-author Kevin De Leon, "we have to have victim-centered oriented programs and policies so that that the victims are not re-victimized again."
SB 967 would make it harder for perpetrators to brush assaults off as alcohol fueled encounters and make it easier for victims to report sexual assault because their confidentiality would be protected.
It also requires colleges to partner with community organizations for rape prevention and crisis services.
"The primary reason people don't come forward with any sexual assault at any age, whether it be on campus or not, is the fear of being judged", says Alison Wales of the North County Rape Crisis Center in Santa Maria, "and being blamed, the victim blaming, that they should have or could have done something different to prevent it when it fact when we have a hard time addressing the person who actually did the assaulting, its like they're the ones who did the assault."
Central Coast Democrat State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson is a co-author of the SB 967.