[T]he requirement of ensuring an explicit ‘‘yes” takes the campaign against sexual assault to a new and absurd level. For one thing, it infantilizes women (while the policies may be gender-neutral on their face, they generally presume men to be the initiators in heterosexual encounters). Are women so weak that they can’t even say ‘‘no,” or otherwise indicate their lack of consent, unless the man takes the initiative of asking?
Such policies also absurdly overregulate sexual relations—particularly since they often require verbal consent to each act even in an ongoing relationship. Forget spontaneity, passion, the thrill of discovery. Forget letting go. At the time of the Antioch policy debate, one sexual assault counselor primly condemned ‘‘the blind give-and-take of sexual negotiations,” arguing that it should be replaced by clear communication. The worthy goal of rape prevention has been twisted into a utopian attempt to remake human sexuality—in an image that is not particularly attractive.
Thanks to Cathy for the thoughtful and crucial points. I am hopeful that Gettysburg President Katherine Haley Will will reconsider its policy. After all, who wants to send their children to a school with a policy so broad that technically everyone is guilty of sexual misconduct?