Savannah Badalich was 19 and a UCLA sophomore when she says she was sexually assaulted by a friend, a UCLA senior who worked in Student Government with her. Alcohol was involved, they were at an off campus retreat, she says she said ‘no' repeatedly, but when it was over she never reported it and only confided in a friend weeks later .
“Too late to gather evidence'' she told me, and ‘'he was older, he was credible, I didn't' think anyone would believe me .'' It's a familiar story. We spoke in her apartment in Westwood, where she's entering her senior year and has become, perhaps she admits with some sense of guilt, an advocate for women, fighting to prevent sexual assault on campus. She has a website, and an organization , where you can take a pledge to help ( www.7000insolidarity.org) and she's a strong supporter of California State Senate Bill 967. That bill would do a number of things towards streamlining California's public college and universities approach to handling victims of sexual assault, making available resources and reporting avenues clear, streamline punishment, and , in the part that's getting the most news coverage, create an ‘'affirmative consent standard'', meaning a clear unambiguous affirmative conscious decision by both parties to engage in sexual activity. That could be a verbal ‘yes'', it could be a nod, or it could be physical, but the idea is that both parties have clearly communicated ‘'yes'' so there's not a ‘' he said she said ‘' problem later if someone is claiming assault and the accused says he thought he had consent. It's ambitious, it's not perfect, it goes beyond what other states are doing. It may or may not be practical or enforceable. Democratic State Senator Kevin DeLeon says it's a ‘'paradigm shift'' in changing campus culture.
Conservative Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly says it's ‘'way too intrusive'', and not even necessary because we have existing laws so we should just enforce them. He thinks it will lead to a lot of confusion and litigation. DeLeon didn't really want to get into ‘'hypothetical situations'' . Interesting debate. So far it's passed the State Senate and today passed the State Assembly. Now it's on to Governor Brown for a yes or no. He doesn't talk about what his plans are for pending legislation. So we wait. For many, like Savannah, it's personal.