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Will 'Yes Means Yes' Bill Change College Rape Culture?

California lawmakers passed a piece of legislation redefining consent, a paradigm shift long called for on college campuses.
Posted at 9:32 PM, Aug 28, 2014

As sexual assault cases on college campuses continue to be a nationwide problem, California lawmakers passed a piece of legislation that could redefine what consent means for The Golden State.

Thursday the California senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 967 — more commonly known as the "yes means yes" bill for public and private college campuses.

"Yes means yes" flips the more commonly known phrase "no means no" into the affirmative.

The bill's definition reads, "Affirmative consent' means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity."

RIKKI KLIEMAN, CBS LEGAL ANALYST: "The 'yes' must be affirmative, unambiguous."

ANTHONY MASON, CBS ANCHOR: "This shifts the burden, though, Ricky. Doesn't it? It's not about a women saying 'no' now, a man has to get a 'yes.'"

KLIEMAN: "A man has to get a 'yes' and that's part of the problem of the enforcement."

KCBA/ KTVU ANCHOR: "Things like silence or lack of resistance would not constitute consent. Also, consent cannot be granted by students if they are unconscious or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol."

While that sounds like common sense, universities have been viewed for generations as needing a culture change when it comes to assault prevention and enforcement against predators.

Grassroots efforts by students around the nation the last couple of years put a long-neglected issue in the public eye on a level that couldn't be ignored. (Video via KGTV)

In January, President Obama formed the White House Task Force on Protecting Students From Sexual Assault.

The task force reported its findings this spring, noting only one in 50 survivors who were assaulted while they were incapacitated report it to police. The group also formed the resource website NotAlone.gov.

Just this week, a student-developed line of nail polish called Undercover Colors made headlines for its ability to change colors and let women detect if a date rape drug has been slipped into their drinks. (Via ABC)

But again, some argue products to protect women speak to the need for a paradigm shift. As author and Twitter celebrity Kelly Oxford put it, "It's very hard to explain to men what it feels like to constantly be told 'Do this so a man can't hurt you.'"

​The "yes means yes" bill's sponsor, California state senator Kevin de Leon, told reporters, "If the governor signs it, this will lead the entire country, the nation."

Governor Jerry Brown will have until September 30th to weigh in. Brown has not commented on the bill's passage.

This video includes images from Getty Images.