The California law defines affirmative consent as “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” to a sexual activity. If someone is “incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication,” the law states, he or she cannot give consent. Students also are incapable of giving consent if they’re asleep, unconscious or can’t communicate because of a mental or physical condition. But Sokolow says that if colleges are serious about eliminating student-on-student sexual violence and harassment, they need to engage in significant educational outreach and target teens before they get to college.
There’s a common perception among college students that peers who rape are “sex-starved, desperate guys who have no game and hide in the bushes,” Sokolow says.
But that’s inaccurate, he adds, suggesting that a more common profile of a college student who rapes would be a charismatic guy who is used to getting his way and has ample opportunities for consensual sex.
“I can’t educate a student who is predatory not to rape,” Sokolow points out. “What I can do is teach people around him to recognize the signs.”