Bill 1079 which just passed in both the Indiana House and Senate shows utter, complete ignorance masquerading as progress! The sponsors claim they are defining consent without even mentioning the word consent in their statute!
What’s more, HB1079 embeds the antiquated concept that “No means No” into Indiana’s laws! Neither “No means No,” nor “Yes means Yes,” will do!
Consent is “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement. #FGKIA! Consent is a noun.
“To consent” is a verb which means “to convey consent to another.” You can’t convey consent to another (the verb) unless consent (the noun) is actually taking place.
Parents teach consent lessons to their kids every day:
“Don’t hit your sister.”
“Don’t scare your little brother!”
“Don’t trick your friends into giving you their toys!”
“Don’t sneak cookies while I take my nap.”
How you take ill-gotten gains matters! Rape is securing sexual contact through ill-gotten means. Nothing ill-gotten is given consensually.
The influence of the offender, how they go about getting your compliance, not the words and actions of the victim, determine whether a rape takes place. Using malicious influence is not okay. Under Indiana’s pending statute, they pick and choose specific types of ill-gotten sexual compliance, and ignore the rest. Plugging up a single loophole, among the myriad of loopholes that exist, is antiquated, dinosaur thinking!
The framers of 1079 know this. CAN participated in a “interim study” on consent conducted by the Indiana legislature back in 2020. Here is the video we presented at their hearing. It was the very first video aired that day.
In addition, we had considerable discussions with the bill’s sponsors and was involved in the effort to define consent correctly when Donald Grant Ward admitted to rape by fraud, but was exonerated under Indiana’ s statutes. In fact, this case was the lead story in my TEDx Talk. The Indiana legislature refused to consider defining consent back then.
1079’s new modification will say you can’t force, threaten force, exploit incapacity, (which already existed) or proceed when the person says “no,” (new concept.) But what about all those victims that freeze without saying no? What about the victim who agrees because they think the rapist is someone else? What about the victim who agrees because the offender is their boss and they think they’ll lose their job? What about the fertility doctor who implants his own sperm instead of your choice of sperm from the options you received? What about the man who stealthily removes his condom when you agreed to protected sex?
Don’t get me wrong…. whenever you say “No,” your decision must be respected. But whether or not you say no should not be the deciding factor in whether or not you were raped. Your maliciously influenced utterances or actions are not the key. You were sexually assaulted if the offender used malicious influence to engage in sexual contact with you, even if they motivated you to say “yes” or comply.
Indiana’s laws should say so. And Indiana’s laws should ascribe a “degree” of harm based on the type of malicious influence that was used. Aggravated cases, cases that use violence, weapons or threats of violence or weapons, are the more egregious and should carry maximum sentences as 1st degree felonies. Other malicious influences such as non-physical threats or fraud should be lesser crimes like class D felonies or Class A misdemeanors.
Accurately defining consent in Indiana’s laws, as the freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement that it is, would establish the human right of consent for the people of Indiana in all sexual conduct. It would eliminate every legal loophole. Instead, they are claiming they are defining consent without doing so, and they know it.
It’s truly an insult to society to claim a law does something it does not. 1079 absolutely does NOT define consent! It only acknowledges that when someone creates obvious opposition, they’re not consenting. Defrauding the public into thinking they’re defining consent when they’re not shows exactly how poorly 1079’s framers understand the meaning of consent.