Defining What Consent Looks Like

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

It's a tad disgusting that I had an idea to write this article. The fact that we need to define consent and what it means is pitiful. To most of us, it seems pretty simple to know when someone is consenting to something. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people out there who don't. I would like to think everyone who reads this is the first. If you are not (or know someone who is not), I would suggest sharing this to as many people as possible.

While I like sharing my work I have a more significant reason for this getting out to anyone and everyone. I would want to live in a world where rape culture is only read about in history books. A place where you can go to a party and not be afraid of passing out. I know some people are still going to do these things, but hopefully, it is a simple act of ignorance that keeps people in the dark. Knowledge is power. So, what does consent look like?

The definition of consent: permission for something to happen or agreement to do something (based off of Dictionary.com)

When Someone Says No
No means no. I should not have to explain this any further. If you ask someone to partake in any type of event and they say no, politely accept this. That does not mean continue forcing the situation until you get a yes or ignoring them entirely. For example, if a friend offers you a glass of cyanide and you say no, wouldn't you want them to honor your answer? Or would you rather them force you to drink it? Not too hard to answer that question.

Now let's say they keep asking you the same question, each time getting closer and closer to you. You are starting to feel pressured and uncomfortable. You might even say yes even though you don't want to take it. Should they still give you that drink? No. It is a definitive word that holds power and should be respected. No matter what. What if they don't verbally say no? If they are shaking their head, putting a hand up, walking away, or pushing you away take that as a no. In fact, if you don't hear a yes you should just assume that means no.

When Someone Is Unconscious
Will stick with the same situation. Your friend sees you passed out and decides to open your mouth and pour the deathly drink down your throat. That doesn't seem appropriate, does it? If the other party is unable to make a decision as to what happens to their body, then you don't have the right to do anything. At all. What can you do to an unconscious person?
  • Put a blanket on them to keep them warm
  • Turn off the lights, so they sleep better
  • Make sure no one else bothers them
  • Leave them alone
  • Leave an untampered glass of water on the nightstand for when they wake
  • Leave them alone

When They Are Drinking
But how do I know they are too drunk to make a clear decision? If they are drinking, leave them alone. Alcohol and other drugs tamper with our decision-making skills. When we start drinking, we become a little laxer in our answers and might not do or say things we actually mean. Would you want your friend to offer you that drink when you have had several shots in your system? No. You might not realize what you are agreeing to at that moment though. What can I do with a drunk person?

  • Offer them water
  • Make sure they get home okay
  • Hold their hair when they throw up
  • Offer them some medicine
  • Make sure no one else bothers them
  • Make them some food
  • Help them to bed and leave
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

When They Say Yes But Change Their Mind
Maybe it's rude, but it's their body. We regularly change our minds when it comes to things and should be respected for those changes. Perhaps your friend offered you that drink, and you blindly said yes then later said no. They can feel disappointed, but they should back off. Even if you are in the middle of a specific event and they decide they want to stop, you should stop. No one deserves to feel uncomfortable or be put in a situation they don't want to be in.

So, what if they say yes then pass out? Again, you wouldn't want that drink while unconscious. You can ask again when they wake up. If you get to be awake during this ceremony, then they deserve that as well. Yeah, it might be upsetting. Life is sometimes upsetting (get over it). Consent should be agreed upon by 100% of both parties throughout the entire process. End of story.

When Their Clothes Or Gestures Say Yes
This is not a thing. Unless you hear a verbal, "Yes," You have no right to do anything. Those 'gestures' could mean a multitude of things that have nothing to do with you. Same with their clothing. I don't care if a woman is walking naked across the street, she never said yes to you. If there is no verbal confirmation, then leave them alone. Should the friend force that deathly drink on you because of what you are wearing? Or if you gave them 'yes' eyes? No.

When They Are Underage
I am not even going into this. I don't care if they say yes or not; it is illegal. There are laws in place for a reason. When you are young, you are unaware of what you agree to and the consequences that could happen. The question should not even be asked at this point.

What does consent look like?
“Hey, I just made this delicious cake. Would you like to eat it with me?”
“Yes, I would.”
“Great!”

This isn't some type of rocket science or Shakespearean play that can be confusing. If you feel like you are making an excuse for what you are about to do, like, “Oh, she would want this if she was conscious,” then you know it is not the right thing to do. There is no excuse for forcing someone into something. If this is too confusing for you, I also have a video that quickly sums up consent here. They do a great job of demonstrating each example in an easy to follow guide. Again, please share this as much as possible. We need to hold people accountable for their actions. If you think it is wrong, you should stop.


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