Most readers have heard me speak about the “Swiss cheese umbrella” of sex crime laws. Today, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his intent to plug up the legal loophole in “voluntary vs. involuntary” drinking or drugs in sex crimes. He did so at the urging of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. who not only promoted change to this particular loophole, but also admitted that our entire system needs an overhaul. But in his final thoughts, he’s relegated that overhaul to the back burner.
The politically correct mantle – but not the substance
As long as you’re not one of the victims he’s chosen to do nothing for, he’ll look like a hero for his efforts. It’s a politically savvy way to claim he’s advancing the cause, while totally overlooking what really needs to be done.
No one should ever suffer a sexual assault. And to suffer a sexual assault because our elected District Attorney chooses to ignore it is totally unacceptable!
Vance, hooking into the exposure of the Cosby case, wants NY to recognize that no matter how you became drunk or drugged, having sex with you (when your brain power to make enlightened decisions is diminished) is off limits. Right now, you’re only protected in NY if the accused actually caused your inebriated or drugged condition.
Legal commentator weighs in
According to 4New York, Stephen Schulhofer, highly regarded NYU Professor of Law, points to the flaw in Vance’s thinking but with an imperfect solution. He supports an “affirmative consent” standard for rape in NY. “Affirmative consent” calls for the victim to state clearly that they consent”
Schulhofer is on the right track, but is tip toeing around the sure fire end-all to all forms of sexual assault in NY – correctly defining consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.” “Affirmative Consent” falls short of the protections needed against sexual assault since someone forced, coerced or deceived could say “yes,” when sexual conduct is absolutely the last thing on earth they’d want to do. Influence is what matters in whether or not you consented, not the words or actions that resulted when malicious influence was used.
In his words….
Vance’s letter to Governor Cuomo, asking for the change in the “involutary vs. voluntary” language, readily admits there are far more loopholes that he’s simply not addressing. He closes his letter with the following statement:
“These proposals are only a small part of much-needed comprehensive reform to our sex crimes laws. I hope to further discuss those reform measures with you at your earliest convenience,”
We all know what comprehensive change looks like – defining consent as Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement (#FGKIA) instead of plugging up a loophole here and there. It’s taken 20 months to get this particular change on the table, with no effort to correctly define consent behind it.
We need law makers who are serious about conquering sexual assault! Only vote for candidates who say #IWillCodifyConsent!