A “yes means yes” advocacy group, the Affirmative Consent Project, is instructing college students to take a picture with a contract before they have sex with each other just to make absolutely sure both parties are officially consenting.
If no camera is available, students are encouraged to fill out the form on the back of the contract which states, “On this date [fill in the blank], we agree to have consensual sex with one another” followed by a space for students’ printed names and signatures.
The kit also also includes breath mints and a condom.
The state of California passed a law requiring all colleges that accept state funding to adopt policies requiring all students to obtain affirmative consent — which it defines as “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” that is “ongoing” and not given when too drunk — before engaging in sexual activity, or else risk punishment for sexual assault. (The University of Minnesota also plans to adopt a similar policy later this month.)
Now, in case you think taking a photo with a contract before having sex would be going a bit far with the whole make-sure-you-have-proof-of-affirmative-consent thing – you’re wrong. In fact, it’s not going far enough.
After all, affirmative consent policies demand that consent be given repeatedly throughout the entire encounter and that both parties be sober enough to do so. So, just because someone consented when they signed the contract doesn’t necessarily mean that they were consenting the entire time. And, as Ashe Schow points out in the Examiner, a student could always claim she was too drunk to know what she was doing when she signed it.
In fact — aside from testing and recording blood-alcohol levels and then repeatedly signing a contract throughout the entire sexual encounter while also taking pictures or video as proof that you were signing it — it’s kind of hard to think of anything that could exonerate an accused student under these standards.