Sexual Consent: For Dummies

Sexual Consent: For Dummies

"It's simple as tea."
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Coming into college, I didn't think that sexual assault really happened - especially at a place like Wake. In fact, I heard so little about it before I went away to school that I didn't even know what consent really meant other than saying "yes" or "no." While attending one of the mandatory sexual assault prevention seminars before my first semester at Wake began, we were shown a video that will stick with me forever: Consent - it's simple as tea.

1. Consent cannot be forced or coerced.

"Just because you made them a cup of tea doesn't mean that you're entitled to watch them drink it."

You can't pour tea down someone's throat like you can't force sex upon someone who doesn't want it. You can't make someone feel bad about not wanting tea, or sex, just because you prepared it for them. It's simple - if someone doesn't want it, then don't give it to them.

2. Consent can be withdrawn.

"They might say 'Yes, please! That's kind of you.' and when the tea arrives, they actually don't want the tea at all."

We've all had those moments where we make a cup of tea, a meal, whatever, and change our minds. Suddenly, that green tea looks a little bit less appetizing or you decide you would really rather have mac and cheese instead of that salad, and that's okay. Just because you make somebody a cup of tea who wanted it earlier, doesn't mean that they have to drink it. Similarly, if somebody wanted to have sex and changes their mind, you are not entitled to it and they are not obligated to perform that act.

3. There are times when people cannot consent.

"Unconscious people don't want tea."

If somebody is unconscious, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or coerced, they cannot give consent. If somebody consents prior to any of those mentioned, then falls asleep or under the influence, they cannot consent. "You should just put the tea down."

4. Consent must be given each and every time.

"If someone said yes to tea around your house last Saturday, that doesn't mean they want you to make them tea all the time."

Just because somebody consents at one time does not mean that they consent to any future sexual encounters.


"If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don't want tea, and you're able to understand when people don't want tea, then how hard is it to understand it when it comes to sex?"

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

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Be True To Yourself And Stay Real With Those Around You

You're not being rude, hopefully.

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It is important to not be fake or easily swayed by others' opinions. Being true to yourself and having a set of values that people acknowledge as respectable can get you far. Doing the right thing and being reasonable allow you to keep it real. Keeping it real is constantly seeking the truth. However, there is a fine line between being real and being rude.

If you say you're "just being honest" and following that with a rude comment, you're not being real. You can't tear down the people around you just because you're trying to be real with everyone. Being real with the people around you means being respectful. Think about others before you think about yourself. Think about what you're going to say before you say it. Also, think about how you're going to say it.

Tone plays a critical role in keeping it real versus being rude. There are many ways to phrase a statement, and many meanings can come from one statement. By putting emphasis on a different word each time you repeat the statement, it can drastically change the tone. Tone is the intonation of the voice as expressive of some meaning or feeling. If you are aware of your tone, it can stop you from being perceived as rude. It is important to be heard and say what you need to say, but it is also important not to hurt those you care enough about.

Intent also plays a role in being real versus being rude. It is obvious when my mother is telling me something with her best interest at heart. It is obvious when a guy in my elective is telling me something with malicious intent. The fine line between being real and being rude is the intent. The purpose of the phrase coming out of the other person's mouth has a profound effect. Once you learn how to tell the difference between the two, you will have an easier time in life. Make sure to think before you speak. Analyze whether what you're about to say will benefit the person and take into consideration why you are even phrasing a statement. There is a real reason for everything you have to say, and there are also real consequences for what you say.

Context is also important when it comes to maintaining the conversation. Conversations are situational and it is important to only say what is relevant. In order to keep it real and not be rude, you have to dissociate from other outside conversations. You have to know that comments taken out of context can be hurtful and used against you. The circumstances are different for each person involved, so it is in your best interest to keep it real.

It's definitely easier said than done. However, taking context, intent, and tone into consideration will stop you from being perceived as rude. Everyone wants to keep it real, but not everyone is capable of staying within the threshold. This line between being real and being rude has consequences, when the line is crossed. Keeping it real is truly an admirable quality to have.


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