Lauren's Law Passes House; Advocated Education Of Sexual Consent

Friday, March 9th 2018, 10:19 pm

A piece of legislation, named for an 18-year old sexual assault survivor Lauren Atkins passed the Oklahoma State House of Representatives this week.

In May of 2017, the Norman High School Senior said she was raped by a classmate after she passed out at a house party.

Atkins said she confronted that boy later, but to her surprise, he claimed he didn't know it was rape. She said he didn't know the meaning of giving consent.

“He was like Lauren you wanted it. I was like I don't remember. I know I didn't want this. I don't know. I just think it's common sense that you don't ask a girl to have sex with you if she throwing up,” Said Atkins.

Now, she says the two see each other in the hallway.

They were once friends, but Lauren said the faded memories of the night pushed her to tell her story.

She met-up with Stacey Wright, the organizer of an advocacy group Yes All Daughters.

“Every day is too long. Every day, every moment that we can't prevent something like this from happening to another person is too long,” said Wright.

Wright’s organization tried to get similar legislation passed two years ago, but says that bill never even made it to committee.

It's being met with opposition again, but this time, with Lauren's help, it's not being ignored.

The house voted, 54-34.

Authored by Norman Democrat , Representative Jacob Rosecrants, it now heads to State Senate Author, Republican AJ griffin of Guthrie.

Rosecrants said he is a former teacher and wants to see sexual assault numbers plummet in schools.

His hope is by teaching healthy relationship behavior to students, what happened to Lauren, won’t happen to anyone else.

“I am protecting our young people by educating young people,” he said.

The bi-partisan effort has received some criticism on the floor during debate.

Some representatives said this legislation could erode Oklahoma values in school and lead to the teachings of other sexual material.

Republican AJ Griffin said she is ready to take questions and put a rest to all the misinformation, adding this bill targets sexual assaults.

“I look forward to having a conversation with my colleagues to why we need to equip young people in partnership with their parents with tools to avoid victimization and be resilient happy adults,” she add.

Atkins said she has faith the system will bring knowledge to the classroom.

The bill will come from guidelines drawn-up by the Oklahoma State Health Department, and will encompass information provided by the Centers for Disease Control, Atkins added.

“It's crazy to know that people don't know what consent is,” said Atkins.

“One in three rape victims in Oklahoma are girls under the age of 18. So I can't understand why or legislatures don't see this as a priority,” said Wright.

While the bill did pass, the emergency clause attached to it failed.

That means, even if this bill is eventually made into law, it will not take effect immediately.

News 9 reached out to three members who contested the measure, but did not hear back.


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