Although the #metoo movement initially began in 2006, over the past year it has created a much needed dialogue across the United States that sexual assault remains rampant, that survivors’ stories are real and need to be heard/shared, and that together we can end sexual violence.
Along with the much needed dialogue surrounding ending sexual assault, another dialogue has begun around the term consent. Although laws about consent vary by state and situation, it is our stance at The Global Prevention Project that children, under ZERO circumstances can ever consent to sex with an adult. (For those of you wondering, we are not talking about two teenagers whose hormones are raging and are engaging in an agreed upon sexual experience).
Consent is an agreement by participants to engage in something sexually or non-sexually.
Simple consent refers to an uninformed 'yes' due to:
Pressure, threats, or coercion
Incompetence (i.e., legal)
Being incapacitated due to drugs and or alcohol
Essentially this means there's no explicit understanding of what you're consenting to or what the associated risks and/or benefits may be.
Informed consent refers to a clear and explicit understanding of what you're agreeing or disagreeing to. This means you also have a clear understanding of what the associated risks and benefits are of giving consent.
Remember, consent needs to be:
ENTHUSIASTIC: If it's not a “hell yes!” it's a no.
CLEAR: Consent is not the absence of a no.
REVERSIBLE: Consent is reversible; you can change your mind at any time!
VOLUNTARY CHOICE: Consent is a choice you make without pressure, coercion, obligation or manipulation.
INFORMED: Consent is informed; you have ALL the information to say yes or no.
If you're an adult and you think that someone is agreeing to have sex with you simply because they aren't saying no or aren't resisting, check again. Consent is a dialogue; it’s all about communication! Just because you agree to one thing doesn't mean you've agreed to another. Just because your date takes off their shirt, doesn't mean they want to have sex with you. This may seem silly but if you've paid attention to the media at all within the last couple of years, consent is everything.
We will continue to fight for the prevention of any form of abuse, even if it has to do with educating people on something that to us seems crystal clear: what it means to give actual consent and who is able to do that.