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Ladies, you may have heard about the new “Yes Means Yes” (YMY) law passed in California. If not, in short it says that on all state-funded college campuses in CA, any “sexual activity” has to be proceeded by a clear  “Yes” or it would be considered “sexual assault.”

Those who support the law say it will cut down on the number of sexual encounters under the influence where a person (assumed female) didn’t say “No” because they were too inebriated to. The logic goes if she can’t say “Yes” then it’s sexual assault.

Opponents say it could possibly lead to a lot of false allegations and will only further divide men and women.

I think it’s a bad law and I don’t believe it will prevent what it is intended to prevent.

First of all, many of the the terms used in the law, like “sexual activity,” are pretty vague. Does that mean holding hands? Kissing? First base? Second base? Third base? Home run? And what is “sexual assault” exactly? Rape? Any contact?

Second of all, whether or not a person (assumed male) crossed the line and what the sanctions will be will be determined by the college, not by a police investigation and fair trial in a court of law with guarantees of due process and all the accompanying checks and balances.

Now don’t get, me wrong, I think having sex with someone who is so inebriated (or for whatever the reason) they are not able to say “no” or “yes” because they are not conscious of what is happening is wrong. Or in more precise terms, having sex with passed out drunk chicks is not ok. It’s never been ok. (Nor is having sex with a guy who is unconscious ok.) Rape in any form is not ok. It’s never been ok. If someone is doing that, it should be reported to the police and prosecuted, absolutely.

But requiring there to be a explicit “yes” each and every step of the way along the continuum in any romantic encounter is simply overkill, not going to deter a true rapist, and is just not very romantic to be honest.

Ladies, your best protection against sexual assault and rape is to take ownership of your own safety and well-being, not to rely on outside forces to protect you or to set your limits for you.

For example, don’t drink alcohol in excess unless you are in a setting and with people who are unquestionably safe. Getting drunk to the point of passing out at a party where who knows who is there is simply bad judgement. That’s not me saying a person deserves it, that’s just me saying don’t do it. Don’t put yourself in that position. Don’t rely on someone else to make good decisions for you. You need to be ready and able to make those decisions for yourself. Own your choices. Own your power.

Likewise, you’ve heard this all before but don’t get in a car alone or go somewhere alone with anyone you don’t absolutely know and trust. Always take responsibility for your personal safety and take precautions to avoid situations where you could be at risk of sexual assault. Go out in groups. Or meet someone new in a public location. Let friends know who you are with and where you are going and check in with them for safety. Don’t let someone you don’t want to be alone with isolate you. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t drink anything anyone else hands you. Be ready to defend yourself if needed.

And realize it’s a dangerous world. Bad things happen. Bad things could happen to you. Realize that you could get raped. Realize that YOU are the best person to prevent that from happening. Don’t leave that up to someone else, to school officials, to the government, to strangers, to outside forces, to chance.

Again, I am not saying that a girl who makes bad choices deserves what she gets or women who get raped necessarily made bad choices or could have avoided it. But I am saying that by making good choices you can avoid most if not all of the most common situations where you could get sexually assaulted or raped. And you should be making those good choices. That is your responsibility, as an adult. That is your responsibility, to yourself.

I know, I sound like your mom. Or if your mom hasn’t said this to you, she should.

Bottom line, laws like this operate on the assumption that people can’t handle freedom, so government needs to intervene. And guess what? That only leads to less freedom. We women wanted rights. We women wanted choices. We women wanted freedom. And now we women need to take ownership of the responsibility we wanted, not cry “victim” and look to outside forces to do it for us.

Let those who have ears hear.

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