Yes Means Yes - Bring Affirmative Consent To Schools

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Yes Means Yes - Bring Affirmative Consent To Schools

This petition made change with 647 supporters!
Sara Woodrow started this petition to Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. and

Problem
In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. In addition to these statistics, approximately 20-25% of women and 15% of men are victims of forced sex on college campuses.

Current methods of sex education promote a "no means no" understanding of consent: but what about cases where victims are unable to verbally provide a "no"? By using this method of teaching consent, educators are providing perpetrators of sexual violence to find justification in their actions: "it wasn't sexual assault because they didn't say no".

"No means no" does not protect victims who are incapacitated for reasons such as alcohol, drugs, cognitive functioning, unconsciousness, or even fear of having their lives threatened for doing so.

By alternating the way with which educators and schools approach teaching consent, we are able to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions and further protect survivors of sexual violence.

Solution
House Bill 5734 and Senate Bill 0620, or the 'Yes Means Yes' Bills, would permit schools to teach about affirmative consent to promote healthy and consensual sexual relationships.

Affirmative consent requires a conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity with another. This establishes that silence and/or lack of protest/resistance (in other words, lack of a verbal "no") do NOT constitute as consent. Additionally, affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout engagement in sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. These bills also acknowledge that the existence of a dating relationship or previous sexual relationships are not means for automatic consent: affirmative consent is still required.

By reshaping the way with which consent is taught in schools, our hope is that we are not only preventing cases of sexual violence by clearly defining "consent", but also reshaping the way that survivors of sexual violence are protected and perpetrators of sexual violence are held accountable.

Unfortunately, House Bill 5734 was introduced in 2018 and currently lies dead in committee. My hope is that through this petition I am able to bring attention to the potential of what this bill could provide for survivors of sexual violence and prevention methods for sexual assault. My goal is to send the petition to the legislators in support of this bill so that it can be reintroduced and moved forward.

Personal story
My name is Sara Woodrow, and I am a Masters of Social Work student at Saginaw Valley State University. As a previous intern at a domestic violence/sexual assault shelter, as well as current intern at the campus counseling center, I have interacted with multiple survivors of sexual violence. My experiences of working with these populations have fueled my passion for advocating for effective preventative methods and further protecting survivors who have experienced the traumas of sexual violence. Please help me with my mission of bringing affirmative consent to schools by signing this petition. Thank you!

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This petition made change with 647 supporters!

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