What is "consent" between two college kids about to engage in sexual activity? Well, in criminal law, at least for now, "consent" may be manifested in any way that it actually occurs. There is no specific definition of consent. Body language, smiles, nods, caresses, and overt acts on the part of one party to engage in sexual activity with another party is consent. The classic example is the young lady who goes to the dorm room of a young man, removes all or some of her clothes, and participates in each act that comes naturally between two adults. In fact, on college campuses, there are unspoken cues that a young lady can signal to a young man that she is interested in sexual intercourse.
Welcome to the 2d decade of the 21st century young men of America! Consent on Campus may alarm some of you. Especially if you are on campus, headed to college or the parent of one of these young men. If you thought college tuition was outrageous or their privacy policies in not sharing information with you, wait til you read the next paragraph.
One disclaimer before I spill the beans. I have 3 daughters. I pray that none of them fall prey to rape. Actual rape. Not Regret Rape. Not Yes Means No Rape. I am talking about force, threat of force, duress, or incapicated to the point she does not know what's going on.
Yesterday, I read Kenyon College's definition of Sexual Assault (rape). "Sexual Assault occurs when a student engages in sexual relations with another student without the person's 'verbal consent'." I can live with that. Until I read the definition of "verbal consent".
"Verbal Consent" is "given when a student clearly indicates by spoken word his or her willingness to engage in a particular form of sexual relations. Verbal Consent must be given for each form of sexual relations that take place, and this consent must be given immediately before each form of sexual relations occurs . . .Both people need to be specific about the forms of sexual activity to which they are consenting. Any form of sexual activity to which both people did not verbally consent is not allowed. Silence . . .is not consent. . . .Verbal consent should be explicitly sought and explicitly granted. Lack of verbal objection is not consent." (My emphasis)
Believe it or not, there is a movement that would define consent as "Written Consent". What radical feminist wants this? More than one but I'll share the name of of a criminal law professor who thinks this is a good idea -- Michele Alexandre.
I thought maybe Kenyon was the only college or university with this definition of consent. Far from it. I found a letter dated April 4, 2011 from the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Assistant Secretary Russlyn Ali, who reminded all colleges and universities to re-read Title IX and strictly adhere to the sexual assault guidelines or risk federal funding. I'll address Title IX in a subsequent post in the future.
For now, moms, dads and their college kids need to be aware that failure to secure express, verbal consent for a specific sexual activity immediately before the act is rape.
What just happened on America's campuses?