So, California lawmakers passed a bill yesterday which, in effect, forces universities and local law enforcement to more seriously and fairly pursue reports of sexual assault. It clarifies consent as an absolute (verbal or nonverbal) yes, nullifying the defense that “they didn’t say no.” It also dictates that intoxication is not a substitute for consent - so the “but they were drunk” excuse is out the window as well. If a person does not say ‘yes’ before sexual activity, then by California law, that activity is not consensual.
The bill sets a positive precedent for other American states - providing a firmer guideline by which a judge can rule in cases of sexual assault and abuse. It alleviates some of the blame and stigma that can automatically fall on victims of sexual assault, and forces the court to treat the victim as a victim of a crime, rather than the voice of an unjustified accusation. Pretty cool. Good job, California.