Thinking back to when I was 17 in college, the standards and signals were certainly different. This young man might very well have raped the complainant, I don’t know the facts. Sexual assault is not a joking matter, and I’m not making light of this case, only observing how dramatically times and mores have changed from my era.
But the jurors seemed to have come to the case with a different understanding of what it means to show consent, highlighting the divide between the standards of sexual behavior espoused in freshman orientation programs and campus brochures, and those that operate in courts of law.
One, speaking anonymously after the verdict out of hesitancy to speak for other jurors, said the panel members asked themselves whether there was “enough evidence to show that there could not have been consent. And we couldn’t get there.”
James Galullo, another juror, said he did not understand the outrage that the verdict had inspired on campus, among students who wrote angry opinion pieces for the campus newspaper or took to social media to denounce the outcome.
“I just think it’s lack of experience in the world,” Mr. Galullo, 61, said. “The jurors were all basically middle-aged. They were able to see their way through all the noise.”
Alexandra Brodsky, a lawyer at the National Women’s Law Center who graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, said, “Schools have adopted consent as an educational tool, but that sometimes means we end up using words that mean different things in different contexts.”
“There are many forms of violence that would be condemned on campus, where a prosecutor would have trouble getting a jury to convict,” she added.
But even college students disagree on the language of consent. A 2015 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post found that 47 percent of current and recent college students said that someone undressing themselves signaled agreement to further sexual activity; 49 percent said it did not.
(click here to continue reading Yale Rape Verdict Shows How ‘Yes Means Yes’ Can Be Murkier in Court – The New York Times.)
If you were on a date, and someone took their clothes off in front of you, how is that ambiguous? What message are they sending by disrobing?