After reporting her rape, Lauren Atkins wrote a bill that would require Oklahoma schools to educate students on consent

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After reporting her rape, Lauren Atkins wrote a bill that would require Oklahoma schools to educate students on consent

babe shared Lauren Atkins’ story in November

A bill that would require students to be educated on consent was introduced in the state of Oklahoma. It was co-written by 17-year-old Lauren Atkins — babe shared her story in November of last year.

In May 2017, Lauren woke up to a male friend having sex with her while she was incapacitated from drinking too much. The next day, Lauren confronted the guy she says sexually assaulted her. He denied it, so she started taking screenshots. One of his text messages says he didn't know you couldn't give consent under the influence of alcohol.

Lauren's story reached a national audience, but it really hit close to home for many in Norman, Oklahoma

Back in 2014, the small suburb outside Oklahoma City made national news when hundreds of students held a protest at Norman High after multiple girls came forward about their rape and said they were ignored by the administration.

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Photo: Ashley Morrison

Everyone I spoke to when I visited Norman remembers this protest and the changes it made — the biggest being that schools must appoint a victim's advocate — but were shocked with how few of their peers actually know what legal consent was. In Oklahoma, the agreement to sex must be “affirmative, unambiguous and voluntary” and specifically points out that it needs to relate to “a specific sexual activity during a sexual encounter.”

Lauren's Law, or House Bill 2743, would require teaching staff and administrators to take a training program on consent and healthy relationships to then educate their students

In addition, the bill would also require the program's curriculum to be medically accurate and must be approved by the Department of Health.

Stacey Wright, founder of Yes All Daughters, an advocacy group for victims of sexual violence and bullying, approached Lauren after reading her story on babe. The two, along with Oklahoma lawmaker and former high school teacher, Representative Jacob Rosecrants, have spent months around Stacey's kitchen table writing it.

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Both Lauren and Stacey believe introducing more consent laws is crucial to educate young people. "Consent needs to be the first priority," Stacey told babe, referring to another bill she tried to pass in 2016 with a focus on healthy relationships, and not specifically consent education.

A petition set up to gain signatures and raise awareness for the new bill states that: "These programs will teach students about consent and how to recognize and prevent relationship violence, including physical and emotional relationship abuse. It will also address relationship communication skills, emotional health, and accountability." Sign the petition here.

Lauren told babe that sharing her story made her want to continue to make change on a bigger scale. "The amount of people who confided in me opened my eyes to how many people are uneducated about consent," she said.

"Though consent seems like common knowledge, it isn’t, and needs to be."

@elenimitzali

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