Currently, Bill numbers A6540 and S6200 are pending in the NY State Assembly and the Senate. They must pass in both houses, in identical form, in order to become law. I'm writing to you today to urge you to email the bills' authors and and share this information with your network of friends and organizations who can lend support. We need 250 letters by Friday, April 23rd.
The following example can be copied or used as a guide, or you could simply speak from the heart. Any way you chose to write would be a tremendous help and greatly appreciated. You can also use our signNOW pdf feature that makes sending these letters a snap! (Here is the link.)
Dear (Assembly Member Seawright or Senator Sanders),
Thank you for introducing (Assembly Bill A6540 or Senate Bill S6200) to correctly define consent in New York's laws. This bill is the critical key to consistently clarify the definition for consent so that all NY residents receive equal protection under the law whenever penal code provisions include the word "consent." This bill places responsibility for committing crimes on the shoulders of the offender, and prevents the victim-blaming that shreds the self-worth of victims during police inquiry and court-room testimony in sex crime cases.
I wholeheartedly agree that consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement, and that recognizing this commonsense definition is especially valuable in prosecuting sex crimes, sex trafficking, theft, cyber fraud, revenge porn, and all crimes.
Why We Need To Take Action NOW:
The State of NY fails to define consent in its penal code. This failure enables victim blaming, makes arresting sex crime offenders exceptionally difficult, and hampers conviction. Although our statutes are clear that we must have consent to engage in sexual conduct, without a clear definition, we cannot provide equal protection under the law. These bills make it apparent that the same definition for consent applies in sex crimes just as it does in all other crimes.
Two identical bills to define consent are pending in NY State; one in the Assembly, and the other in the Senate. Enacting these two bills can echo throughout the halls of justice, all around the world. #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #ItsOnUs have raised awareness. Assembly bill #A6540 authored by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senate bill #S6200, authored by Senator James Sanders Jr., provide the solution.
Neither the judge for Harvey Weinstein, nor the Judge for Bill Cosby, could answer the jurors when they asked, "What is the definition for consent." We need to fix this deficiency in our laws.
Both bills state:
"Consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement; such agreement must be obtained without the use of malice such as forcible compulsion, duress, coercion, deception, fraud, concealment, or artifice."
For more information on this issue, you may find thisTEDx Talkhelpful.