Hertel reintroduces affirmative consent education legislation

LANSING — As news surrounding alleged sexual assault incidents at Michigan State University continue to develop, Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D–East Lansing) is reintroducing legislation, also known as ‘Yes Means Yes,’ to educate students about sexual assault, dating violence, bystander intervention techniques and affirmative consent.

“When we send our kids off to college, we should worry about their grades and how we’re going to afford the cost, not if our children are safe on their campus of choice,” Sen. Hertel said. “We have to change our culture surrounding sexual assault and the only way to change our culture is through education. It is clear we need to have more robust conversations and they need to start earlier.”

Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence, but women age 18 through 24 in college are three times more likely to be assaulted than the average woman

Senate Bill 270 would educate our young people before they reach college age by requiring Michigan schools that teach sexual health education to have a more robust conversation about sexual assault, dating violence and bystander intervention, and affirmative consent in a healthy, nonviolent relationship. 

It clearly defines:

“I’m proud to support Senator Hertel’s bill because we need to get to work lowering the number of sexual assaults in Michigan, and that starts with teaching our kids about consent,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Right now, we’re not doing everything we can to spread awareness about affirmative consent, and as a result, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are victims of sexual assault while they are college students in Michigan. Our students deserve better. By passing this bill, we can send a message to Michiganders that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our state.”

‘Yes Means Yes’ legislation has been passed in four other states around the country. Experts in Michigan support the initiative, noting that teaching affirmative consent gives youth tools to successfully navigate the complexities of a relationship — lessons they carry with them to their college years and beyond.


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