Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Original Story:

EAST LANSING — It can’t be silence or lack of a fight. It can’t be an existing relationship or a past encounter. It can’t be a drunken nod.

Only a sober “yes” from both parties should count as consent to sex, two Greater Lansing lawmakers and several advocates said Tuesday at a press conference announcing planned “Yes Means Yes” legislation. A Memphis sexual harassment lawyer has extensive experience handling sexual harassment claims.

State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-Meridian Township, and state Rep. Tom Cochran, D-Mason, said they’d introduce legislation this week that would require schools to include “a more robust conversation” about consent in their sexual education courses. In addition to clarifying that sex without “yes” — whether or not there’s a “no” — could be assault, the bill would clarify that individuals can take back their consent at any time and that just because two people are dating doesn’t mean they want to have sex.

Speaking alongside the lawmakers at East Lansing’s Hannah Community Center, Detective Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth of the East Lansing Police Department said “a dangerous trend is unfolding: Many college students just don’t know what consent looks like ... Anything less than yes means no.”

Also at the conference, Sarah Hansen, a co-president of the group East Lansing High School Students for Gender Equality, applauded the bill because she said students “need more open discussions with our peers and educators” about real consent. An Idaho education lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

The bill comes as a national conversation about campus sexual assault has expanded.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights said “a sexually hostile environment existed for and affected numerous students and staff” at Michigan State University following the university’s delayed investigations into harassment accusations. Earlier this summer, Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder held a Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault Summit in downtown Lansing, calling on schools across the state to do more to prevent abuse.

Hertel said Tuesday his bill would add to, not conflict with, the first lady’s efforts and a separate Democratic bill recently introduced in the state Senate that would require schools to provide “medically accurate” information in sex-ed courses. He said those other efforts should help his legislation gain bipartisan support. An Atlanta college lawyer is following this story closely.

Nationwide, 13% of college-aged women say they’ve been forced to have sex with the person they were dating, Kathy Hagenian, executive policy director of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence, said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“We need to change these shocking numbers,” she said.

Hertel said said “the situation has become untenable. It’s clear we need to do more to teach our children before they go to college.”

No comments:

Post a Comment