HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There are new laws on the books about sex on college campuses in Connecticut. It used to be that ‘no’ meant ‘no,’ but now, lawmakers are taking consensual sex to a new legal level.
There are a lot of stories of sexual assault on the campuses across Connecticut. Jessica Oknin is a senior at UConn.
“Do you know anybody who has been sexually assaulted” we asked Oknin. “I personally do. They haven’t really disclosed it publicly, but it is nice to know that they can come and use me as a resource and some of our other friends.” she said.Related Content: Bill requiring schools to adopt consent policies passes
Each story is personal, each one disturbing. The majority of the victims know their attackers. They are the stories behind the new law moving forward at the Capitol. It’s called affirmative consent.
Laura Cordes is the Executive Director of Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. She says some of the 30+ campuses across Connecticut have already made affirmative consent part of their curriculum. UConn passed it back in 2002, and Central Connecticut State University also has implemented it. It sets a clear guideline that if alcohol is involved, or a woman is too scared to say anything, the ‘yes’ is not implied.
“Affirmative consent is clear, active, and voluntary agreement between two individuals to engage in sexual activity,” said Cordes.Related Content: NY Gov. Cuomo to sign ‘yes means yes’ sexual consent bill
Cordes says she has been here to the Capitol to testify to lawmakers about this bill because she says it is so important to get it all the way through. She says it is a big deal because it doesn’t shift the responsibility and she wants to make that absolutely clear. What it does is it adds to the responsibility. Instead of asking the victim, ‘how did you say no.’
“Now, we’re making sure, with an affirmative consent standard, we’re asking both students, ‘what was it that was said’ or ‘how did you communicate with each other?'”
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the toll-free, statewide sexual assault hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1(888)999-5545.