Sex Contracts Won’t Prevent Rape on College Campuses

California lawmakers are considering legislation which would require undergraduates on state campuses to sign a contract before engaging in sexual activity. This is meant to ensure the consensual nature of sexual activity and to prevent, or lessen, campus rape.  There are several problems with this proposed legislation.

One problem is pointed out by S.E. Cupp, contributor to CNN and the Blaze, co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, columnist for the New York Daily News and TownHall Magazine, as well as an author and co-author. In her latest Crossfire video, Cupp points out that this legislation assumes that college rape is inevitable, and points out the problem with that mentality. “…all of the discussion and all of the debate is about crisis centers and hotlines and what happens after the rape. And then we debate adjudicating the rape so that it embarrasses the college the least.”

Cupp makes an excellent point here. While it is important to discuss how to deal with rape cases after they have occurred, we should be spending more time talking about how to prevent rape in the first place, and this legislation is not the answer. “Crisis centers are fantastic but I’d much rather have not been raped in the first place,” says Cupp. I think you would be hard pressed to find a woman who would disagree with Cupp on that point. We are treating rape as the norm when we should be treating it as the exception.

However, it is not surprising that we are treating rape as the norm as we have disarmed women on the vast majority of college campuses. Rapists are aware that women are now much easier prey upon when they are not carrying, so it would not be surprising to see that rape has become the norm rather than the exception.

i am responsible for my own safety

If you really want to prevent rape, instead of making students sign a contract before engaging in sexual activity (which is not going to prevent rape in the first place) how about we give the students their guns back for those who choose to carry them? Or at least give them some pepper spray! According to Cupp, women are not even allowed to carry pepper spray on many college campuses.

A second problem with this proposed legislation is efficacy. Let’s assume for a moment that this legislation passes and is signed into law. I would be very surprised to see that rape declines, in accordance with the signing of this law.

First, how are you going to enforce this law? If students don’t want to sign this contract, how are you going to know if students are planning on engaging in sexual activity in order to force them to sign this contract? There is no practical or feasible way to track the sex life and activity of every student on campus. If it were possible to do this, it would probably prove to be a violation of fourth amendment rights.

Even if this law were more easily enforced, it does not address the root problem of rape. It ignores the fact that rape is about power, not sex. Rape is about having control over another person and their body. Rapists aren’t going to care about sex contracts, and are going to continue over powering women and taking advantage them.

To think that sex contracts are going to prevent rapists is like saying gun control laws are going to stop gun violence. These people are criminals, and they are going to break the law if that’s what they decided they want to do– no matter how many laws you pass telling them not to. These laws do nothing to stop criminals, and only place further restrictions upon the lives of law abiding citizens.

I’m am all for preventing college rape, but I agree with S.E. Cupp that we need to change our attitude that college rape is inevitable, and start treating it as the exception rather than the norm. Secondly, we need to real solutions to college rape, rather than legislation which is ineffective and unenforceable.

Follow Katherine Zehnder on Twitter at @KathZeh.

Advertisements

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s