as demonstrated by the recent Stanford rape trial, nobody wins.   The lives and reputations of not only the victim and the defendant, but also the trial Judge and Stanford University, itself, have been forever altered.  And yet nothing effectively changes.  Universities continue to make and change policies, launch prevention campaigns, and implement other well-meaning programs to stem the tide of campus sexual assaults and still sexual assaults on college campuses continue to occur at alarming rates.

In order to reduce the number of sexual assaults, it will be necessary to change the current culture of sexual behavior on college campuses.  A simple solution to facilitate that change and prevent the future ruination of lives and reputations is something that young people are already very accustomed to using, an app. 

There are any number of situations that may lead to an allegation of sexual assault. Sometimes it may appear as a miscommunication between the parties. Other times, there are situations in which an alleged perpetrator might be perceived to have taken advantage of a partner’s silence, inebriation or the inconclusiveness of a he said/she said scenario.  The WeSaidYes app requires both parties to clarify their intentions and document said intentions/consent. Utilizing an affirmative consent app should greatly reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses, at least in the afore mentioned instances.

Uniquely positioned to enforce compliance with affirmative consent app usage are university athletic programs and perhaps they should, as it has become evident that over the last 20 years, a disproportionate number of alleged sexual assaults on campuses are committed by college athletes. ( Athletes & Sexual Assault)  University athletic programs could compel their athletes to utilize an affirmative consent app, thus insuring that the athlete is doing the right thing and protecting all parties.  There are far too many schools making headlines with sexual assault cases involving college athletes to name individually. However, staying with the recent Stanford case, it bears noting, if the athletic department of Stanford University had compelled its athletes to utilize the WeSaidYes app there might not ever have been a Stanford rape trial and the resulting damage to all.

Further, the costs to universities, associated with sexual assault cases are great.  FSU recently paid $950,000 to the victim in the Jameis Winston Case, in which he was acquitted.  University of Tennessee just settled a sexual assault case involving student athletes for $2.48 million.  The majority of victim cases are decided against universities with an average disclosed settlement near 1 million dollars. In fact, in a recent trend, accused students who sued the institutions that suspended or expelled them are now increasingly winning those lawsuits.  In addition to the loss of millions of dollars in litigation related costs, non-compliance with Title IX means the potential loss of federal funds.  How can any university afford not to try an affirmative consent app?

The WeSaidYes app is an affirmative consent app that securely and confidentially documents the affirmative consent of both parties. It is specific, clear and convenient. Utilizing the app will do far more to change the current culture of sexual behavior on college campuses than current slogans, campaigns and policies.

Universities seem hesitant to embrace the tools that are currently available in the marketplace, and quite honestly, I am baffled.  Few can argue that:

  1. The current generation of college students is extremely technologically savvy and utilizes technology in an array of settings for intimate encounters that arguably may be foreign to an older generation; or
  2. That clarity and documentation of intentions would go a long way towards reducing the current trend of sexual assaults on college campuses.  

An app that does just that would seem to be a welcome solution.

Can an app stop all sexual assaults?  Of course not.   But simply rejecting an idea because it is not the absolute complete solution to the problem or the concept is foreign doesn’t make sense. Is preventing the pain as described by the victim in the Stanford rape case not enough of an incentive to give an app a try?  I would, of course, argue that utilization of the WeSaidYes app would prevent many more potential sexual assault cases, but even if it prevented just one case at every university that utilized the app that would be a huge win. 

Perhaps, if Stanford had licensed the WeSaidYes app and every student received an email that not only explained how to use the app but also discussed what a true affirmative consent culture looks like, this whole debacle where clearly nobody won, could have been prevented.   Because if Mr. Brock was aware that he needed the affirmative consent of the victim, that it would be a good idea if he could prove that affirmative consent was given and that there was an app available to him where he could document said alleged affirmative consent, he might have forgone the act, knowing that he could never demonstrate the victim’s affirmative consent in her current condition.

The WeSaidYes app and its accompanying educational materials presented in a technologically savvy fashion could enlighten students about consent and how to protect themselves: show parents of university students that there is a formalized effort to help protect their children: and assuage university stakeholders because there is a tool in place to help minimize risk and liability.

Why not give the WeSaidYes app a try.  Let’s start to change the current culture of sexual behavior on college campuses and begin to reduce the amount of sexual assaults.  We have nothing to lose and finally somebody wins.

Maureen Coffey Edri is a judge and the founder of The WeSaidYes app


Developed by a judge for her children, your children and students everywhere, who could use a little more protection during their most intimate encounters. 
Contact: & learn how we can help your institution create an environment that increases consent & decreases sexual assault.