Today I found out that a friend of a friend had been raped last night after drinking with a few coworkers and I got incredibly furious. Despite what Robin Thicke and so many others might think, there are no blurred lines in regards to sex and consent and there’s no grey area as far as consent. Consent is yes, no, a conversation. It’s a process and it’s something that people should work on together.
Before anything else though, I do want to say to everyone who has been assaulted, raped, or went through anything traumatic, you are worthy. I love you and you are so wonderful. What happened wasn’t your fault and you are more than this.
One of main things about consent is that it’s a decision that requires thought and something that can’t be forced on someone. It has to be your decision with knowing all the facts and without being pressured. And it’s important that it can be withdrawn at any time, as Lex Croucher points out:
Consent can be withdrawn at any time. A person does not need to say the word no to withhold consent. There are lots of ways that a person might indicate that they don’t want to engage in sexual activity with you. Like body language, or lack of reciprocation.
Last year, California passed an affirmative consent law that dictates that a conscious and unambiguous decision must be reached be by everyone involved in sexual activity. The law primarily focuses on college campuses and helps to support prevention groups and victim rights’ groups. There are a lot of think pieces about this law, some in favor and others not so much. But personally, I think this law opens up a door towards having conversations at large about what consent means and how to have on going conversations about it means. It’s important to realize, at least for me, that consent is grounded in respect for the other person (or people if that’s the case).