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2020 bill would define consent in Indiana

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Posted at 12:07 AM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 10:54:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Currently, sex without consent is not a crime in Indiana.

Under Indiana law, rape is defined as sex compelled by force or threat of force, if the other person is unaware, or if the other person is mentally disabled and can’t give consent.

But consent itself is not defined in Indiana’s code.

A couple of state representatives are working on a bill that will change that and define consent under the law.

Rep. Karlee Macer, D-Indianapolis, said while working on legislation to raise the age of consent from 16 to 17, she learned consent itself isn't defined in law. She said defining it will help protect people from sexual assault.

“Of course, I think most average people recognize when consent is happening and when it is not,” Macer said. “It shouldn’t be elementary, but penetrating someone’s body without their consent — taking away the liberties of that person — is wrong.”

Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, is the author of the proposal. She introduced it last session, but it died in committee.

Sexual misconduct is a prevalent topic in today's culture, but Macer says this proposal didn't specifically come from the #MeToo movement.

"I was looking at the past work in the state of Indiana and it was around 1995 when some of these conversations were even happening,” she said. “I wish I had a better answer as to why it was not defined very clearly. To me, it isn't just about the MeToo movement."