We Need to Talk: Consent
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We Need To Talk About Consent

Rape and sexual assault remain extremely prominent threats in society... and we need to talk.

We Need To Talk About Consent

***TW: rape, sexual assault, sex offenses***

One of the saddest realities of today is that sexual consent remains widely misunderstood, disregarded, or just flat-out ignored. We need to change that.

Nonconsensual Taping

Nonconsensual taping is an extremely serious issue that arises in sexual situations, yet somehow does not get spoken about enough. You CANNOTrecord or take photos of your sexual partner without their knowledge and consent. YOU CANNOT. Let me say that one more time. It is a crime to record or photograph any sexual partner without the knowledge and voluntary consent of that sexual partner.

The state of New York makes this illegal under the unlawful surveillance statute (also known as Stephanie's law). As Forbes states, breaking this law causes victims to be, "turned into an object of pornography without consent"- something that is absolutely disgusting (and absolutely illegal!!!!!!!) to do to another person. Do not do it.

The Tea Video- "No means no"

I want to start off by analyzing the form of consent that has been commonly accepted for years, as well as what consent looks like in a current-day situation.

So, let's talk about "no means no". Sounds simple enough, right? Apparently, it isn't. It's time to talk about a few things.

- A popular tool used to explain this is the tea video, which really boils the issue down to something quite straightforward. As the video explains, if you were to ask someone if they want tea, and that person says no, you don't give it to them anyway. It makes no sense to give it to them anyway. The video goes on to say that you also wouldn't give tea to someone who is unconscious, and you wouldn't force someone to drink tea if they don't want it.

Additionally, the video delves into moments of perceived uncertainty. If a person is not sure if they want tea, you don't make them drink it. You drop the subject and allow them to give you an answer when they have made the decision.

Let's translate this into a sexual context. If you ask someone if they want to engage in a sex act, and they say no, the answer is no. Thus, don't do it. The answer is no. Don't force them into anything they said they did not want. If a person is unconscious, don't perform a sex act on them. The same way you wouldn't give them tea.

If your partner is unsure of what they want, don't engage in a sex act. Drop the subject. Allow them to make the decision. But also, don't expect an answer. If they don't know right know, they don't know right now, and you are capable of controlling yourself.

No means no, and silence does not mean yes.

A question frequently asked to victims of sexual assault is "Did you say no?".

We need to think about this for a second. Why are we placing all of the responsibility on the person the act is being done to, instead of the person doing it? Why are we waiting for a victim to say no, instead of emphasizing the need for the perpetrator to receive a "yes"?

This is where affirmative/enthusiastic consent comes in.

Affirmative Consent- "Yes means yes"

- In this consent model, rather than saying "no means no", the phrase morphs into "yes means yes". This eliminates the potentially (but inexcusably, in my opinion) perceived uncertainty of indecisiveness or silence by outlining the idea that only the word "yes", or a word clearly and universally accepted as equivalent, means yes.

Here, the dominant party has a responsibility to receive that voluntary, knowing, and affirmative response from their sexual partner, rather than that sexual partner having a responsibility to speak out with a "no".

Stop means stop
Another extremely important thing to consider is that if you have begun a sex act, and one party says "stop", you NEED TO STOP. It doesn't matter how long the act has been taking place for. It doesn't matter whether or not you want to stop. If someone says stop, stop. Period. Stop. Your sexual partner does not "owe" you anything, and if you believe they do, you have a whole lot of work and growth in front of you before you are in the appropriate mental state to be engaging in sexual activity. If they tell you to stop, stop.

If you fail to abide by these laws, you are a sex offender, and it is not okay. It is not okay to take advantage of someone's sexual vulnerability. It is not okay to force someone into a sex act they said no to. It is not okay to take sexual advantage of a person when they are unconscious or otherwise unable to consent. It is not okay to ignore someone's uncertainty and continue with a sex act anyways. It is not okay to tape a sex partner without their knowledge and consent. It is not okay to continue a sex act when someone tells you to stop.

It is about time for these offenses to stop. It is about time for people to be held accountable for their actions. It is about time for bad people to stop getting away with bad things. And stop doing them in the first place.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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