It’s little wonder that Alaska State Representative Geran Tarr is focused on defining CONSENT for her state’s Penal Code. Alaska has the highest ratio of rape from coast to coast; close to 3 times the national average!
Just like postal carriers delivering important mail, neither gusty wind nor heavy rain deterred our staunch “Consent Crusaders” from descending on the Pennsylvania statehouse this past Monday. I was joined by Nina Lucas, our PA Consent Awareness Outreach Ambassador, and Cheryl Carmel, Foreperson for the Bill Cosby jury. We addressed a bipartisan group of five representatives – several of whom were surprised to learn that consent is not defined in their penal code. In attendance were State Representative Wendi Thomas, State Representative Joe Emrick, State Senator Katie Muth and her Legislative Director Sonia Kikeri, Legislative Director David Kozak representing State Senator Wayne Langerholc, and State Representive Joe Ciresi. Each attendee received a copy of Your Consent – The Key to Conquering Sexual Assault and information specifically geared toward the issues in Pennsylvania.
Cheryl Carmel explained that the jurors asked Judge Steven O’Neill what the word “consent” meant in law and they were surprised that no specific definition had been codified into Pennsylvania’s statutes. They were told that as “reasonable people” they needed to use their best judgement, and they did. As the Foreperson, Carmel was tasked with pronouncing Cosby, “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty,” on all three counts.
Rep. Wendi Thomas had begun some of the heavy lifting to create a bill by reaching out to a lawyer to lend a hand. She recommended finding a way to insert a definition in existing law. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of her efforts.
What can you do to help?
I know I sound like a broken record, but the more people who watch my TEDx Talk and read Your Consent– the better informed you and society will be! Please watch, read and spread the word!
Call your legislators and demand change.
If you’d like to be an Outreach Ambassador in your state or territory, reach out to me at Info@ConsentAwareness.Net.