Watch The Today Show Demonstrate How Media Should Talk About Consent And Campus Sexual Assault

NBC's Today Show demonstrated the importance of talking about consent and campus sexual assault by providing crucial context explaining the epidemic levels with which the crime occurs on campuses and noting that consent is an “important conversation” to help address it. 

On October 1 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a mandate requiring high schools in the state offer “courses to provide lessons in the prevention of sexual violence,” as the Los Angeles Times reported. The new law was preceded by previous legislation in the state requiring “college campuses to improve policies to prevent sexual assault” and  “couples [to] affirmatively consent before engaging in sex.”

The October 16 edition of NBC's The Today Show highlighted the importance of addressing sexual violence in schools.Co-host Erica Hill explained how affirmative consent policies are working in California. The segment highlighted a teacher who has already implemented such policies in their classroom and found that “Kids understand. Kids actually want to engage in healthy relationships,” and pointed to experts that note affirmative consent works in practice for young people. Hill provided crucial context for why such measures are needed, pointing out that “as many as one in five women is sexually assaulted or raped in college,” and anchor Savannah Guthrie agreed that consent is “an important conversation”:

In contrast with Today's handling of the issue, media often dismiss the severity of campus sexual assault and cast blame on the victims rather than the perpetrators. Conservative media have spent years attempting to cast doubt on statistics finding that one in five women experience sexual assault while at college -- even as studies continue to reaffirm that undergraduate women experience high rates of sexual violence.