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Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright recently introduced Assembly Bill #A6540, Defining Consent, in New York’s general laws.

This definition should echo throughout the halls of justice in every state and territory across the US and around the world! It will set the record straight on consent in all crimes, place responsibility for sexual assault, rape, and sex trafficking on the shoulders of the offender, and prevent the victim-blaming concepts that have been ingrained in our sexual assault laws for centuries.

Why is this important to you even if you’re not a New Yorker?

All legislation begins because one legislator is brave enough to make a difference! Assembly Member Seawright has stepped up to do so. Once one jurisdiction codifies a code, it opens the door for others to follow and illuminates their path.

Currently, no US state or territory defines the word “consent” in its laws. This deficiency makes prosecuting sexual predators extremely difficult and fails to provide the guidance to hold them accountable. #A6540 not only defines consent in sexual assault but in every crime covered in the penal code, the word “consent” will be recognized as “Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement, #FGKIA.”

A press conference to introduce the bill to the media will take place at the office of Asm. Rebecca Seawright at 12 noon on the Day of Action, Tuesday, April 6th. Location: York Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets, Manhattan.

Can you help create this monumental change?

You can log onto the webpage for the bill and give it an “aye” vote. While you’re there- please leave a comment as well!

And there’s more…..

Below is a letter in support of NY State Assembly Bill #A6540. We ask that you choose one of the numbered paragraphs to include in your letter or provide your own text.

Action on “The Day of Action”

On April 6th, the Day of Action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM, we ask that you help light up the switchboards of the Codes Committee legislators who control #A6540’s fate, to create the path toward successful passage for this bill! You can use the comments in the letter to make your point, or speak from the heart, whatever works best for you!

There are 20 names on this list. Every one of them votes on the bill. Every one of them needs to know YOU support #A6540! If you are unable to call or write to them all, please be sure to express your support to Assembly Member Seawright and Assembly Member Dinowitz, the head of the Codes Committee.

April 6, 2021

Dear _______________________________,

I support Bill #A6540, defining consent as “freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement!

  1. The lessons learned from the Weinstein and Cosby trials can fix our broken justice system regarding sexual assault, and this bill creates the needed clarification. No judge should ever refuse to define consent when asked by the jury. This bill provides an accurate definition that will guide behaviour and hold sexual predators accountable.
  2. The 14th amendment of the US constitution grants everyone equal protection under the law. Sexual assault laws cannot provide equal protection unless and until every jury defines consent accurately and consistently.
  3. The guidance provided by this bill will prevent the blame-the-victim language in our laws that enables defence attorneys to pull apart victims on the stand. It makes clear that the offender’s behaviour, not the “words and actions” of the victim, such as their clothing, their prior sexual history, or even their past relationship with the offender, is the determining factor in whether consent occurred because when malice by the offender is present, consent is not.
  4. Consent is a word with a definition. The definition does not change based on the application. No matter what you are consenting to, the definition remains the same. If you are consenting to turn your property over to someone, if you consent to take a Covid 19 vaccination, if you consent to sexual conduct, consent is always freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.