Sexual assault on college campuses is enough of a problem in this country that earlier this year, President Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The corresponding website, NotAlone.gov, was launched to help victims of sexual assault with the resources they need to get medical help or file a complaint, but anyone can logon to understand their rights and get data on how specific universities are complying with different federal resolutions. Findings from the first report submitted by the task force are grim – one in five women is sexually assaulted in college. Even with these statistics, is an app designed to try to ensure consensual sex the answer to this problem? And what other issues does its use potentially cause?
Good2Go is an app whose purpose is to attempt to confirm “affirmative consent” – that is, explicit, conscious agreement to sexual activity before it starts. Here’s how it works:
When you meet that potential hook-up partner, you open the app and it asks “Are we Good2Go?” Your partner can either choose ‘No Thanks’, ‘Yes, but…we need to talk’, or ‘I’m Good2Go’. If ‘No Thanks’ is chosen, that’s the end of the conversation and you’re off to find someone new. If the answer is ‘Yes, but…’ the app pauses so that you can further discuss the terms of your potential hookup and decide whether or not this is actually a good idea. But if the answer is ‘I’m Good2Go’, things get a bit interesting from there.
Once your potential partner has agreed, a new screen pops up on the app that attempts to gauge the level of intoxication of said partner, with options ranging from “sober”, “mildly intoxicated” and “intoxicated but Good2Go” all the way to “pretty wasted." The app owner will be informed that someone choosing that last option cannot properly consent to sexual contact of any kind. If he or she is not "pretty wasted," they will be asked to enter their phone number into the app where they will then receive a text message code that they use to confirm the hookup agreement. The owner of the app clicks ‘OK’ and it’s on.
Although the intent of this app is supposed to be about communication, consent, and the safety of all parties involved, there are so many potential problems with it that I think I’ll pass for now. Good2Go is free and available for iOS and Android.
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