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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Consent: by the numbers

Last year, Arizona lawmakers had their own form of the “Yes Means Yes” law that was previously adopted by California institutions.

According to the Phoenix New Times, it would require Arizona students of both public and private universities to define sexual consent as “sexual activity as informed and freely given words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed on sexual activity.” Silence and a lack of resistance would not be considered as consent.

While this new law does redefine what sexual consent is, it does away with the gray area when defining sexual consent. It also brings into question why this law was necessary.

UA Campus Health Service defines nonverbal sexual consent as:

  • mutual removal of clothing
  • active participation of behaviors
  • mutual touching/caressing
  • eye contact
  • responding to touch
  • moving toward partner
  • placing hands where they would like to be touched

Campus Health defines nonverbal communication that signifies you do not have consent when:

  • stops responding to their partner/stops touching partner
  • holds arms tight against their body
  • turns head away from partner, avoids eye contact
  • hides their face
  • pushes partner away, removes partners hands
  • tries to get up, roll over

With this new law, those under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not able to consent, and sexual consent could be retracted at any time during a sexual experience.

Questions as to why this law was necessary among college students brings attention to statistics of rape and sexual assault.

In a special report released in December 2014, the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice found:

  • For both college students and nonstudents, the offender was known to the victim in about 80 percent of rape and sexual assault victimizations
  • Rape and sexual assault victimizations of students (80 percent) were more likely than nonstudent victimizations (67 percent) to go unreported to police
  • Student victims (12 percent) were more likely than nonstudent victims (five percent) to state that the incident was not important enough to report

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center released campus sexual assault information earlier this year stating:

  • Among college women, nine out of 10 victims of sexual assault knew the person who sexually assaulted them
  • 27 percent of college women have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact
  • 40 percent of colleges and universities reported not investigating a single sexual assault in the previous five years
  • 30 percent of colleges and universities offered no training on sexual assault to students nor law enforcement officers
  • 91 percent of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male
  • The prevalence of false reporting is between two percent and 10 percent
  • 70 percent of colleges and universities did not have a protocol for working with local law enforcement
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