One year later, Lauren Atkins’ story inspired legislation, national conversations about consent, and hundreds of girls to speak out
It started with the screenshots
Last year, then-17-year-old Lauren Atkins, told babe she woke up to someone having sex with her. She said she was incapacitated from drinking, and that she couldn't possibly have consented. When Lauren confronted the guy she says raped her, he denied it — so she started taking screenshots and gathering evidence on her own. She got in touch with us after a friend, who'd worked on a story with us before, suggested she "tell babe" about it.
The party Lauren attended, half an hour down I-35 from Oklahoma City, would sound familiar to thousands of high school-aged girls — a house party with fifteen of her closest friends. And unfortunately, the sexual assault she described isn't that unusual either. Her story is a far too common one, similar to the kind of incidents girls report every day.
One year later, Lauren caught us up on what's happened since. "I never expected so many people to care about what happened to me," she told us this week, "I was just a 17-year-old in high school." She said since it was such a common occurrence, she was sure it'd be "swept under the rug."
But that's not what happened. First, other girls started sharing their stories online
And then they started suggesting action
Lauren co-wrote a bill requiring consent education in Oklahoma schools
After reading Lauren's story on babe, Stacey Wright, an advocate for teen victims of sexual assault, got in touch with her. They spent months co-writing a bill that would require consent education in Oklahoma schools. They also joined forces with freshman Democratic state Rep. Jacob Rosecrants in the hopes of preventing similar incidents in the future.
— lil mama laur (@laurenn_atkins) January 18, 2018
In January, the bill passed the Oklahoma house floor
In January of this year, Lauren's Law passed the Oklahoma House Floor with a total of 54 votes. Lauren told babe she started crying when she heard the final vote. "I am so happy enough people realize how important this education is," she said.
Lauren's Law didn't make it through the Oklahoma Senate in 2017, but Lauren and Stacey will be trying again this year.
Her story started to spread, getting the word about Lauren's Law out around the country
Following the success of Lauren's Law, a number of major media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Forbes, and Vice News also traveled down to Oklahoma to report on Lauren's story and the legislation she drafted.
What's Lauren up to now?
Lauren told babe sharing her story made her want to continue to make change on a bigger scale. "We are going to continue to push for the bill," she said, adding that she's learned it's really important to take things one step at a time. "The amount of people who confided in me opened my eyes to how many people are uneducated about consent."