Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Yes, I Know

The Jackass set aka "Lawyers" have been wringing those hands and clutching those pearls over "yes means yes" has been highly amusing.

I have long said that adults project and reflect and if you live in the now and work and see kids as I do on a daily basis it long dispels any notions of what one did when you were that age and what it is like today to be a young person. I have never projected my own history or beliefs on kids other than manners, those are universal and should be mandatory as we seem to have none. I say that civility is connected to humanity and when civility is gone well you see the results.

 I have also objected to referring to Universities/Colleges as rape cultures. Sorry that is pushing it. ISIS seems to have a rape culture and watch the Frontline special on that you will never refer to any institution in America with that term again. Rape as genocide and the spoils of war is a rape culture.

As for our sports and fraternities that seem to bear that flag of responsibility when it comes to rape evokes a type of culture that seems to be more about confused masculinity and in turn sexuality than one of rape and abuse. I read Missoula and well what I read was more about the hideous obfuscation and misogyny that was exhibited by the Police and Prosecutors Office not a school and town absorbed in raping and harming women. There was no Rape 101 class on how to rape.

So we confuse Lawyers and their own projections and obsessions with that of the greater good. They write the laws, which we fundamentally don't understand and then promptly violate at some point and yes everyone does they just don't get caught or don't believe it applies to them. That glass of wine with dinner and you drive home is a DUI. Yes it is.

 And I see the same with Educators and especially Psychologists and Social Workers. Ever met someone who works with alienated youth groups? I can spot a patronizing fake the second they open their mouth, with the hushed whisper and the extended over pronounced phraseology that screams: "I am an utter nut fuck who thinks everyone is stupider than me and I am highly evolved emotionally."

Then whatever shit happened to them over the course of their lives they will relive and replay it over and over again and project that same trauma onto every encounter. It is a permanent phase of victimology. Who wants to live over and over again their teen years? No thanks. I can barely remember them. Let's keep it that way. I teach because I like learning. But I do actually like kids and despite their annoyances I listen to them. 

 No wonder people love Donald Trump he yells his idiocy in simple phrases.. you really want to make a point try that. People will either love or hate you but you will get their attention. So when I read this today I was relieved. Yes means that yes they are now talking about sex and getting the education that is piece meal, half assed to non-existent. And unlike the elite class, I actually know and have taught it. It sucks and not in a good way.

So I read two articles today. One about the new way sex ed must be taught to cover this new element in an already confusing subject.  And another who works with kids and find that they are adapting quite fine. Yes kids are resilient another quality we could learn from them.

For Teenagers, Sexual Consent Classes Add Layer of Complexity to Difficult Subject

SAN FRANCISCO — The classroom of 10th graders had already learned about sexually transmitted diseases and various types of birth control. Today, the 15-year-olds gathered around tables to discuss another topic: how and why to make sure each step in a sexual encounter is met with consent.

Consent from the person you are kissing — or more — is not merely silence or a lack of protest, Shafia Zaloom, a health educator at the Urban School of San Francisco , told the students. They listened with rapt attention, but several did not disguise how puzzled they felt.
“What does that mean — you have to say ‘yes’ every 10 minutes?” asked Aiden Ryan, 15, who sat near the front of the room.
“Pretty much,” Ms. Zaloom answered. “It’s not a timing thing, but whoever initiates things to another level has to ask.”

The “no means no” mantra of a generation ago is quickly being eclipsed by “yes mean yes” as more young people all over the country are told that they must have explicit permission from the object of their desire before they engage in any touching, kissing, or other sexual activity. With Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on a bill this month, California became the first state to require that all high school health education classes give lessons on affirmative consent, which includes explaining that someone who is drunk or asleep cannot grant consent.


Shafia Zaloom, a health educator at the Urban School, discussing the concept of affirmative consent with students. Credit Noah Berger for The New York Times

Last year, California led the way in requiring colleges to use affirmative consent as the standard in campus disciplinary decisions, defining how and when people agree to have sex. More than a dozen legislatures in other states, including Michigan, Maryland and Utah, are considering similar legislation for colleges. One goal is to improve the way schools deal with accusations of rape and sexual assault and another is to reduce the number of young people who feel pressured into unwanted sexual conduct.

Critics say the lawmakers and advocates of affirmative consent are trying to draw a sharp line in what is essentially a gray zone, particularly for children and young adults who are grappling with their first feelings of romantic attraction. In he-said, she-said sexual assault cases, critics of affirmative consent say the policy puts an unfair burden of proof on the accused.

“There’s really no clear standard yet — what we have is a lot of ambiguity on how these standards really work in the court of law,” said John F. Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University. “The standard is not logical — nobody really works that way. The problem with teaching this to high school students is that you are only going to sow more confusion. They are getting mixed messages depending where they go afterward.”

But Ms. Zaloom, who has taught high school students about sex for two decades, said she was grateful for the new standard, even as she acknowledged the students’ unease.

“What’s really important to know is that sex is not always super smooth,” she told her 10th graders. “It can be awkward, and that’s actually normal and shows things are O.K.”

The students did not seem convinced. They sat in groups to brainstorm ways to ask for affirmative consent. They crossed off a list of options: “Can I touch you there?” Too clinical. “Do you want to do this?” Too tentative. “Do you like that?” Not direct enough.

“They’re all really awkward and bizarre,” one girl said.

“Did you come up with any on your own?” Ms. Zaloom asked.
One boy offered up two words: “You good?”

That drew nearly unanimous nods of approval.

Under the new law, high school students in California must be educated about the concept of affirmative consent — but they are not actually being held to that standard. So a high school student on trial on rape charges would not have to prove that he or she obtained oral assent from the accuser. That was the case with a senior at the elite St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire this year who was accused of raping a freshman. The senior was acquitted of aggravated sexual assault but found guilty of statutory rape — sex with a minor.

As for college students, the law passed last year in California does not change the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted in criminal courts, only in the way they are handled by colleges, which are permitted to use affirmative consent as a standard.

Last year, Corey Mock, a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was expelled after officials there found him guilty of sexual misconduct because he could not prove he had obtained verbal consent from a woman who accused him of sexual assault. But a Davidson County Chancery Court judge ruled in August that the school had “improperly shifted the burden of proof and imposed an untenable standard upon Mr. Mock to disprove the accusation.”

The judge called the school’s ruling “arbitrary and capricious.”

In a separate case, a former student at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., who was evicted from his dorm room after a student accused him of rape, filed a lawsuit in federal court in August against the school and several administrators. The former student, identified in court records only as John Doe, argued that he was denied the rights promised in the student handbook and that the adjudicators of his case had ignored records of text messages that supported his view of the encounter with the fellow student.

Kevin de León, the California State Senate speaker pro tempore and lead sponsor of the high school legislation, said the new law was as much about changing the culture as it was about changing the law.
“Sexual violence has always thrived in the gray areas of the law,” Mr. de León said. “What we want to create is a standard of behavior, a paradigm shift as much as a legal shift. We’re no longer talking about the old paradigm of the victim being blamed for their own behavior.”

But among teenagers, who are only beginning to experiment with their sexuality and have hazy ideas of their own boundaries, the talk tends to be about “hooking up” and what the new rules are. “Kids are still establishing patterns of behavior, and they have a lot of specific concrete questions,” said Ms. Zaloom, who has written a curriculum for affirmative consent programs that is being used throughout the country.

Students will ask, “Can I have sex when we are both drunk?” Ms. Zaloom said. “I get this one a lot: If I hook up with a girl and the next day she decides she didn’t want to do it, then what do I do?

Typically she will use such questions as a way to begin talking about the benefits of sexual partners knowing each other. But sometimes there are no straightforward answers, she said. “We’re trying to show them very explicitly that sex has to include a dialogue,” she added, “that they have to talk about it each step of the way.”

In her 10th grade class, one girl asked about approaching someone about a casual encounter. “What if it’s just a one-time thing?”

“You have to be prepared to say ‘no’ and hear ‘no,’ ” Ms. Zaloom said
Another girl chimed in: “If you don’t care about a person too much, you might not be inclined to listen.”

Ms. Zaloom suggested making clear plans with friends ahead of time, like making pacts with each other to leave parties together. And she urged them to have conversations with potential sexual partners “before you get swept up in the moment.”

“How do we even start a conversation like that?” one boy wondered. “Practice,” Ms. Zaloom answered.

Adults hate ‘Yes Means Yes’ laws. The college students I meet love them. The hand-wringing from the grown-ups doesn't match what I see on campuses

. By Jaclyn Friedman
The Washington Post
October 14 2015  

Jaclyn Friedman is the editor of "Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape" and author of "What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety." 

 Last month, Michigan became the latest state legislature to introduce a “Yes Means Yes” law, mandating the teaching of affirmative consent as a sexual standard. In the past year, affirmative consent has become the mandated standard on college campuses in New York and California and is being voluntarily adopted by a growing number universities beyond those two states. The idea is simple: In matters of sex, silence or indifference aren’t consent. Only a freely given “yes” counts.

 And if you can’t tell, you have to ask. Every time one of these bills is introduced, a certain subset of adults freaks out. Earlier this year, as the spring semester got underway and these new policies took hold on some campuses, Robert Carle, writing for libertarian outlet Reason, shrieked that “[a]ffirmative consent laws turn normal human interactions into sexual offenses,” as if there’s anything “normal” about a disinterest in whether or not the person you’re having sex with is a willing participant.

In the New York Times, Judith Shulevitz dismissed the new standard because “[m]ost people just aren’t very talkative during the delicate tango that precedes sex, and the re-education required to make them more forthcoming would be a very big project,” an assertion for which she provides no evidence.

But if students aren’t yet used to practicing affirmative consent, that’s no argument against it. Marital rape used to be both popular and legal, and we didn’t wait until everyone had stopped committing it to institute new laws.

And in the Boston Globe, Wendy Kaminer protests that “in practice [affirmative consent standards] aim to protect women from the predations of men,” even though, as even she acknowledges, the standard is gender neutral. (More on that in a moment.)

 All the grownup scaremongering is drowning out one important fact: Young people are embracing affirmative consent. As an expert on sexual health and sexual violence prevention, I spend a lot of time visiting college campuses and talking with students about sex and expectations. And nothing I teach them seems to give them more clarity and comfort than explaining the basics of affirmative consent.

Yes Means Yes provides answers for so many of the private anxieties students scrawl on the index cards they pass to me anonymously during Q&A sessions, or wait in line to whisper to me after talks. Oftentimes, I’m the first adult they’ve encountered who talk with them directly about sex in a way that affirms that sex can and should be pleasurable and that they’re the ones who get to decide when and how it works for them.

The questions are urgent and a little heartbreaking: How do I say “no” when it makes me feel guilty? How can I have fun hooking up without getting accused of sexual assault? How can I make my friends stop judging me about wanting too much sex, or not enough, or wanting the “wrong” things?

Affirmative consent isn’t the answer to every student’s sexual anxiety, but it’s a core part of my response to many of them. Yes Means Yes tells students who have trouble setting boundaries that a good partner wants to know what your limits are; that if you tell someone what you don’t want and they respond badly, they’re not someone you want to have sex with.

By emphasizing that you can’t make assumptions about what a sex partner might want, Yes Means Yes reminds everyone that there is no universal “right” answer to what any of us should want to do in bed. Instead, practicing affirmative consent encourages young people to get to know their own needs and desires and boundaries.

 It helps them realize that knowing what they want (and don’t) from sex makes them stronger, and the most important sexual relationship they’ll ever have is the one they have with themselves. Yes Means Yes is also immensely reassuring to many of the young men I meet.

Kaminer’s gender assumptions are no anomaly — critics of affirmative consent almost universally assume that the standard is intended to punish men and protect women. Not only does that erase sexual assaults in which the perpetrator isn’t male, it also ignores the reality that men are more likely to be raped than they are to be targeted by an (exceedingly rare) false allegation.

That’s one reason affirmative consent is, in reality, a gender-free standard: It tells young men that their needs and desires and boundaries matter, too, and that it’s just as important when someone violates them as it would be if they were a woman. And it teaches people of all genders that it’s easy to make sure you’re not hurting anyone during sex: Just show up and pay attention to your partner; listen to what they’re telling you; and if you can’t tell, you have to ask. That’s especially helpful for young men, many of whom are worried that they’ll accidentally violate their sex partners, somehow, just by way of being male.

Of course, asking isn’t so simple when you’ve been raised in a culture that seems to say that talking about sex with your sex partner is some kind of a buzzkill. (It’s not, of course — if it were, phone sex wouldn’t be such a lucrative business.) That’s why the new affirmative consent laws are also a great opportunity to teach the kind of sexual communication that makes sex both better and safer for everyone.

There is plenty of evidence that these policies can be effective, and not just in the e-mails I receive from grateful students. (I hear both from students who tell me that practicing Yes Means Yes has given them the best sex of their lives, as well as from students who don’t want to be sexually active who thank me for teaching that their choice is valid and good.)

 A recent poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that overwhelming majorities of both young men and women understood that the absence of a “no” does not equal consent and that consenting to some sexual activity, like kissing or touching, doesn’t indicate consent to other sexual activity. Fully 96 percent of students understood that a very drunk or unconscious person can’t consent.

While it’s hard to find historical examples that map exactly to these poll questions, those numbers sure seem to signify a big shift from the 1998 study conducted by the Sexual Assault & Trauma Resource Center of Rhode Island, which found a quarter of adolescents believing that “a man on a date has the right to sexual intercourse without the woman’s consent if she is drunk.”

It’s yet another piece of evidence that once you explain affirmative consent to young people, they embrace it. Yes Means Yes is being adopted to increase accountability for campus sexual assault, and not a moment too soon.

Just last week, the Association of American Universities revealed a comprehensive study showing that nearly 1 in 4 young women and 1 in 20 young men on U.S. campuses are sexually violated in some way while undergraduates.

But it’s also a thrilling opportunity to shift the way we teach sex in high school and college, one that shifts our framework away from guys who “get some” and girls who may or may not “give it up,” to reimagine sex as a creative collaboration between two equal people, regardless of gender.

Far from criminalizing sexuality, affirmative consent humanizes it. Young people are smart enough to know a great opportunity when they see it. It’s time for the adults to catch up.

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