We believe consent shouldn’t be fun or sexy at college- (even though the sex is.) It’s a serious affair that deserves formality

For both students, and the institutions which they attend.

Our free affirmative consent app was covered today in Motherboard , and on attn- and it wasn’t pretty. Not only did the articles say our app does the opposite of what it actually does, they left out any mention of what our app actually does do, both for the students using it, as well as the schools which they attend.

We get that “affirmative consent apps” are still so new that they are all being lumped together in the minds of people covering them, but we had no idea that our app would be so grossly confused with ‘those other apps’.

We consider this to be a great opportunity to distinguish ourselves from any preconceived notions the media may have about what an affirmative consent app can, or can’t do.

Our intent is to be the antithesis of an affirmative consent app, as it unfortunately understood to be because of apps like good2go, and yes to sex etc.

As sad as it is to be misunderstood, we have to say that we agree with the assessment of both of the articles on the issue of consent apps as they have historically been presented, which is that push button consent is dangerous, and could potentially shield would-be rapists.

Our app is not that. Our app is meant to be thought about and used not in the heat of the moment, but in a time of a clear head, and sound mind.

We designed it to be at the very least difficult to use in any scenario except clearheaded and sober.

It’s a contract. A legally binding contract. The unsexiest thing in the world. Just like sexual assault is the unsexiest thing to ever happen to sex. In college this deserves formal pause for both students before they go rushing in.

But we aren’t trying to be sexy. We’re trying to match the seriousness of the sexual assault issue on campus. To inform students of their legal rights and obligations when they have sex on campus, because even in 2016, simply going to college puts women at risk of sexual assault, and men at risk of unjust persecution, simultaneously, and in reverse. It’s a legal mess, and one of the largest civil rights issues of our time. Students don’t need talking penises and vaginas to educate them about consent. They need to be reminded that the situation on campus demands a particular form of consent, in response to the atrocious situation for women in academia.

Students should absolutely not take consent lightly, or informally on campus, even when they do have casual sex. Even when both parties are completely consenting. Students who do take consent lightly put themselves at direct risk on multiple levels.

Our app is actually meant to be used, thought about, and signed intentionally. Maybe almost gravely. The situation on campus is so bad that to not seriously and urgently address consent in a way that gives both students legal agency, and clearheaded knowledge of the rules they must follow is playing with fire, or less metaphorically, playing with futures, and the safety of at least 1 in 5 women who will become the victim of sexual assault at college.

Our app is not intended to be a ‘conversation starter’, or even a way to initially attain consent from a partner. It is one way to legally confirm verifiable consent from your partner, and there is a crucial difference there.”

Our app is also a way to give direct legal agency to students who otherwise believe they have nothing but their schools administrative process for reporting sexual assault, or protecting themselves from unjust prosecution. Our app protects equally, as in literally equally.

We feel like students should use our app, and schools should recommend its use because students are already under an existing legal contract with their school to conduct themselves in a particular way when it comes to consent.

Our app simply takes that same agreement and makes it exclusive between the two parties signing it. Legally this does a number of important things, but most crucially gives victims another course of action other than the available channels at their school for reporting, and recourse in the event of sexual assault.

Gretchen Carlson recently used a civil method of recourse to extraordinary effect, and felled a mighty and repugnant giant, someone who probably otherwise would have been untouchable in a criminal court. We’re directly opening up that same channel of recourse for every victim on campus who uses our app as context for recourse.

The civil option is a viable option that is often missed entirely when a victim considers what options are available to them for reporting, or dealing with sexual assault. It should not be overlooked in the array of options presented to victims when they reach out for help, or for students trying to figure out the best way to deal with matters of consent in such an historically risky environment. Our app can fast track that effort, and give context for a suit where a victim may have previously found none that worked practically in their own life.

Because of the specific structure of our agreement, and termination sequence, we believe it makes it much more difficult for a rapist to ‘get away with it’ than it would be without the app at all all other factors being equal. Particularly in a legally hard to prosecute area like revoked consent.

We also believe that the nature of this termination sequence is a legally binding chain of evidence that inherently serves to (privately) document a time-stamped exchange, which by its very nature should help to provide revealing clues one way or another to a trained adjudicator, or civil or criminal court for that matter, should either student choose to bring the app agreement forward as evidence.

Other apps giving ‘push button consent’ do not provide evidence, rather we believe that they provide misdirection, in favor of the accused, in situations where consent revocation is at the crux of the complaint.

Our app puts students on equal legal footing, and does not leave room for a rapist to manipulate the tool for their own ends, short direct intimidation or violence on the other persons signing and confirmation actions separately from the assault, which no consent app or contract solves, or could ever solve.

We thought of the details. We sharply considered the problems. And our app directly addresses the most difficult things about ‘affirmative consent apps’ and affirmative consent on campus unflinchingly, in an environment where colleges are struggling to get it right, and women are still the victims of sexual assault while attending school at alarming rates.

We believe that we can actually make a measurable difference, given the chance. We are not a team of bro-tastic app developers trying to cash in on the problem. We are academic types, and lifelong professionals who are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and who remember what it was actually like in college.
We made this tool completely free, completely private, as well as ad free because we think that we can make that tiny difference, and are therefore obligated to try.

The nuances of our agreement and the way that it is structured deserve closer examination, as our legal team has given this hundreds of hours of consideration, and the app, and app process thousands of hours of development. We invite examination and professional conversation, as our legal and professional experience is a valuable asset when considering the problem at hand for colleges and students alike.

No app will prevent rapists from being rapists. Our app just makes it harder for rapists to get away with it after consent has been given, and gives both students a direct reason to pause, and at least give nod to the seriousness of the situation for women on campus today.

The concept and formality of consent isn’t and shouldn’t be fun or sexy in an environment where 1 in 5 women will be the victim of sexual assault. It’s an extremely serious issue that is finally coming to public awareness, and needs to be formalized, instead of game-ified- not only in the wording of the law in all 50 states, but particularly in certain rigid social structures like college campuses.

Sex and affirmative consent is something that is a legal quagmire for every student and college today. Whether or not the concept, in theory, is simple. Legally it’s not, and pretending like it is does every student a major disservice, and belies the actual legal difficulties in the triangle between students, the office of civil rights, and colleges. Students have a right to know what a mess it is on campus for them now, today.

Pretending that sex is anything other than a contract already between students also does them a major disservice, and prevents the accurate understanding of affirmative consent from being assimilated in a way that people take seriously, right now.

Despite how unsexy a contract is, it is actually a pretty simple, and sane step towards a solution to an insanely complicated, and political issue on campus today.

Our app cuts through that legal mess in a way we feel like will be most useful to students, and schools alike without ignoring any of the actual legalities that are behind the mechanisms of affirmative consent, and adjudication processes.

We believe that our demographic, being adults, should be treated like adults, as well as be expected to treat sex like adults, fully aware of the legal and administrative ramifications that sex and affirmative consent can have while enrolled at college.

Feel free to reach out for further conversation, or for questions. We’re happy to help.

Sam Hornreich

admin@sasie.date