Posted Wednesday, September 9th 2015 @ 5am by iHeartMedia’s Corey Olson
As college students head back to school this fall, they're getting a new kind of orientation. The "Yes Means Yes" campaign from the group Affirmative Consent is aimed at reducing and preventing sexual assaults on campus. The issue has garnered more attention in recent years due to some high profile cases, one of which turned out to be false. The movement has also prompted a backlash against the behavior of some fraternities, accused of promoting a "rape culture" on campus.
Two states have already passed laws requiring people to consent before sexual activity occurs. Alison Berke Morano with Affirmative Consent says the movement is aimed at people already in relationships, along with those who may be "hooking up" for the first time. "It helps their communication just by talking about it (beforehand)," she tells KTRH. "And I think that the communication part also makes everybody more comfortable and have a better experience in the end."
Under "Yes Means Yes," the rules for fooling around can get complicated pretty quickly. "You're not legally able to consent if you're impaired (by alcohol or drugs)," says Morano. "You're allowed to say no even if you have said yes--two minutes before, if you're suddenly uncomfortable you can say no." It may sound confusing, but Morano sees it as common sense. "It's just respect in general, and it's about being conscientious of each other and being conscientious of what's going on around you," she says.
According to Affirmative Consent, the ultimate goal of the "Yes Means Yes" campaign is to "change the conversation" about sex on campus. Morano points out that sexual assaults are underreported because victims often feel pressured to give in beforehand, or don't report it afterward for fear about their own reputation. "If you're uncomfortable, you should be absolutely safe and absolutely sure of yourself, and tell somebody I don't like this, this needs to stop, I don't consent," she says.