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Muncie state representative wants consent added to state’s rape statute, taught in schools

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Sue Errington (D-Muncie) says the bills on elements of rape and sexual health education are supposed to work together.

By Stephanie Wiechmann
IPR News

A Muncie state representative has co-authored a bill that would expand the definition of rape in Indiana to include the element of consent.  The measure passed a committee vote and is headed to the full House.

State Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) says Indiana doesn’t have a definition of “consent” in its current rape statute.

Only an act done to a person who can’t give consent due to mental disability is included. Otherwise, the act would have to include threat or force, serious bodily injury, or include drugs to be counted as rape.

House Bill 1079, originally authored by state Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica), aims to broaden the definition to include any sexual activity done to someone without their permission as the bill states “through words or conduct.”

In its hearing in front of the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code on Wednesday, it was moved forward with a vote of 9-1.

In a statement, Errington says everyone needs to understand consent to build safe, positive relationships.

That’s why she’s also authored a bill to require Hoosier schools to provide sexual health education that’s medically and scientifically accurate. She says that includes lessons on how to understand consent. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the education committee.

Read More from 2017:  Is It Time For More Comprehensive Sex Education In Indiana?