Should mothers be encouraging their sons to get a woman to text consent before they engage in sexual intercourse?
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Sounds extreme, but not for Roxanne Jones, a former executive at ESPN, who says such motherly advice can potentially help save her son from a false rape accusation. In an op-ed published on CNN, Jones encourages other moms to follow her lead, arguing, in part, that sex has evolved over the years to such a degree that parents “still fail to discuss sex and evolving sexual mores frankly with our sons and daughters, all this freedom has led to confusion about the ever-changing rules of engagement when it comes to sex.”
To be sure, she makes it clear in her piece that “no” means “no” and that no woman asks to be rape. However, Jones highlights statistics from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism which reveal that about 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. Such circumstances further complicates the meaning of consent, Jones argues.
So, in order to remove any doubt about consent, Jones recommends the following:
Never have sex with a girl unless she’s sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual beforehand. And it’s a good idea to even follow up any sexual encounter with a tasteful text message saying how you both enjoyed being with one another — even if you never plan on hooking up again.
Crazy, I know, but I’ve actually been encouraging my son and his friends to use sexting — minus the lewd photos — to protect themselves from being wrongly accused of rape. Because just as damning text messages and Facebook posts helped convict the high-schoolers in Steubenville of rape, technology can also be used to prove innocence.
How to protect yourself from false rape allegations is a constant conversation among professional athletes. I’ve covered many rape cases over my career, including those of Kobe Bryant, the Duke lacrosse team, and many others that never made the headlines. Sports agents and athletes have tried everything from openly or secretly recording their sexual encounters, which is illegal in some states, to asking all women they have sex with to sign a pre-consent form. And though the public may scoff at stories of athletes who frequent strip clubs or solicit prostitutes, many athletes say they do this to avoid unwarranted sex assault charges.
To be sure, Jones has plenty of critics:
Indeed, Jones is suggesting a very unconventional way of protecting one’s self against false rape allegations, but is it extreme or is she on point?