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 Consent can be withdrawn.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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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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