To the men.
There are many definitions of consent. The following is one definition in terms of sexual contact: Consent is permission given freely by someone who understands what they are consenting to and knows they can withdraw their consent at any point during the interaction.
Consent is giving your okay, verbally and unimpaired (i.e. NOT high or drunk) with full awareness of your surroundings. Forcing or coercing someone into sexual activity or engaging in a sex act with someone who is high, drunk, unconscious or unable to give consent, is rape.
So why should you care about making sure that your sexual conduct is consensual? Because you are trying to please someone not hurt them, right? Because you want to be cared for and asked first. Because if you initiate a sex act with someone without hearing explicit consent first, that could be rape and whether you meant to rape someone or not it is not okay. Rape is never okay.
A person does not consent to sexual activity just because they do not protest. It is a myth that most rape is committed by a violent stranger in the streets. The majority of rapes are committed by someone the person who was raped knows and happen in the home of the person who was raped.
It is essential to healthy relationships to talk about sexual preferences and boundaries. If someone doesn’t want to have sex with you and you are having sex with them, this is rape. It’s rarely easy to just leave someone’s bed or ask them to do the same. It is never someone’s own fault that they were raped; it is the rapist’s fault – they chose to do it, whether from a desire to hurt and control or by choosing to ignore their own power and the other person’s feelings.
There are lots of reasons why someone might not express that they don’t want sexual contact. They might be scared of rejection, they might not want to hurt your feelings, they might change their mind and feel it’s too late. Whatever someone’s reasons they should always be respected. It IS always okay to say no. It IS okay to change your mind. Sex is not a right or an obligation. Regardless of your history with someone you have no right to sex with them.
Sex can be fun, safe and healthy as long as all involved are communicating. Talking about consent with others can be another step towards stopping rape. However, hardly any of us are taught what consent is or how to talk about it.
So we are having a workshop on consent on Monday 17 September – further details are at the foot of this article. For people who can’t make the workshop here are some things to think about:
How do you define consent, do others define it differently? Are you sure about your intentions?
“Wait…” means NO, “it hurts means” NO, silence means NO, not kissing back means NO “uhh…” means NO.
Listening is really important and sexy. Try not to tune out, talk over people or formulate your response while someone is still talking. Stop right away if someone says no.
Getting someone pissed so you can “score” is not cool, it is fucking lame and likely to result in rape. Listening to and respecting others builds trust and respect which are sexy.
Workshop on consent. 12 – 2 pm Monday the 17th of September. In the clubs room, Student Union building, Victoria University
The workshop will talk about what consent is and isn’t, and why we should always gain consent engaging in a sex act. And how to talk about consent. The workshop is for all people who identify as male.