This topic has been all over Twitter, Facebook, the news, the internet, the world: consent. It’s important that we clear up any issues as to what consent is, and what consent isn’t.
What Is Consent?
Consent is when you verbally, or physically, say ‘yes’ to a sexual act. It’s leaning in for a kiss, it’s leaning your body, it’s agreeing to engage in the act that the other person is embarking on.
Consent is not freezing when a guy puts his hands on you or leans in for a kiss. It’s not lying there because you don’t know how to say ‘no’ but you really don’t want anything to happen. It’s not going along with it because you kissed him earlier.
If you’re walking past a guy and he slaps your bum, he’s acting without your consent. If he ‘lobs the gob’, he’s acting without your consent. Essentially, anything you don’t want to happen is you not giving consent. In the heat of the moment, there might not be a question asked, but you should be given ample chance to give your consent.
Someone using their position of power, or their strength to coerce you into acts is not consent. Sex and sexual acts should be fun, they can be passionate, strong, gentle, anything goes, so long as both parties want it. If you are drunk, you cannot give consent because you are not fully within your senses. If you are on drugs, legal or illegal, which have an affect on your cognition, you cannot give your consent.
The problem is that we can often freeze, out of fear, or shock, and because we’ve not said yes or no, our silence is taken as an invitation. It isn’t. Our inability to verbalise our consent is therefore an indication of us not giving our consent. Silence is not consent.
The thing you need to remember is that, you are not to blame for anything that happens to you that you do not consent to. If you need more information see here: www.rapecrisishelp.ie