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Affirmatively Replacing Rape Culture with Consent Culture

Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 49, Pp. 1-56, 2016

CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-5

57 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2017  

Mary Leary

Catholic University of America (CUA)

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

The debate concerning affirmative consent consists of two camps: those who assert people must affirmatively establish a desire to engage in sexual contact and those who believe this is an unattainable standard. However, this is not where the debate should start and end. This paper argues that the movement towards affirmative consent in sexual contact will reduce the occurrence of sexual assault. Criminal law sets the backdrop for this paper, but the author recognizes the limits of criminal law. In order to combat sexual assault, there must be a multidisciplinary response. By providing a comprehensive definition of affirmative consent and examining the social harm of sexual assault that the criminal law seeks to rectify, the author will establish that the creation of an affirmative consent culture, rather than simply an affirmative consent law, will enhance protections for women. Affirmative consent means more than “yes means yes.” This paper responds to the many critiques of the affirmative consent model including that it will not eliminate sexual assault, that this standard criminalizes sex, and that it shifts the burden to a defendant. Rather, the author proposes a three pronged approach to affirmative consent which mirrors that of the anti-drunk driving methodology of the 20th Century: education, social stigma, and criminal law adjustments.

Keywords: Affirmative consent, Consent, Affirmative Consent Model, Yes means Yes, Sexual Assault, College Campus, Rape Culture, rape, campus rape, campus sexual assault

Suggested Citation

Leary, Mary, Affirmatively Replacing Rape Culture with Consent Culture (2016). Texas Tech Law Review, Vol. 49, Pp. 1-56, 2016; CUA Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2944265

Mary Leary (Contact Author)

Catholic University of America (CUA) ( email )

116 McMahon Hall
Washington, DC 20064
United States

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