A Bipartisan Response to Sexual Assault

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Last week marked the launch of a major effort to fight sexual assaults when Indiana State Rep. Sally Siegrist, a Republican, held her first legislative meeting to discuss enacting a law that would clearly define what the word “consent” means in Indiana.

At the meeting, Rep. Siegrist introduced the subject of consent by showing committee members a video of a TEDx talk given by Joyce Short. That talk was entitled “When Yes Means No: the Truth about Consent.”

Short says clearly defining consent will enable the police, prosecutors, judges and jurors to hold sexual predators accountable under the law and prevent the confusion between what constitutes “bad sex” or an actual sexual assault.

“Confusion over what consent actually is makes it difficult for society to comprehend. Seventy-six percent of U.S. states and territories have no definition of consent in their laws and in some states, their definitions are inaccurate. We need laws to accurately express the real meaning of consent. … Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.” Short calls that #FGKIA.

Rep. Siegrist and Short also have the cooperation of New York State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, a Democrat. Rep. Siegrist and Assembly Member Seawright are now working together to create bipartisan support for a new law spelling out what consent is.

Rep. Siegrist successfully fought for legislation to curb human trafficking in Indiana last year. Assembly Member Seawright is a long-time champion for women’s rights and the former chairman of the board of the Feminist Press.

The author of two books on sexual assault, the newly released booklet, “Your Consent, the Key to Conquering Sexual Assault,” and a survivor of incest, date rape and sexual assault by fraud, Joyce Short advocates for victims, helping them reclaim their dignity and become survivors. She appeared on the CBS Evening News, numerous radio programs, was featured in The Kansas City Star and Newark Star-Ledger, and much more.

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