Consent: The Check
The Check: How Do You Know You’re Asking the Right Questions?
This is the third and final post in a 3 part series on the topic of consent.
Ok, so now that we have established what is required for consent (Part 1) & what can make it complicated (Part 2)… here are some ways we can make sure we have consent in each area that is required, and how to communicate, avoid, or navigate safely through the situation.
If you are unsure about:
? Enthusiastic Yes? – Ask again! “You sure?” “You want to?”
If the other person is not enthusiastic or seems hesitant, either suggest talking about it or doing something else. DO NOT move forward in the activity. Just because someone doesn’t say “no”, doesn’t mean it is what they are wanting. Make SURE you have that enthusiastic yes!
? Mutual? – Ask what they are wanting and what they are comfortable with!
You: “What would you like to do?”
Other person: “Kiss you”
You: “I would like that! *followed by big smile*”
CONSENT HAS BEEN GIVEN MY FRIENDS! KISS AWAY! (smooooth, am I right?)
? Voluntary? – Ask how they are feeling! Pay attention to body language, not just verbal. Body language can often speak volumes. But remember, you still always need verbal consent. If you can tell someone is feeling nervous around you, slow down and talk more. Consent doesn’t always have to be intense. Consent can be fun, expressional and conversational. LAUGH! Be playful. But in it all… just be you! You always want to keep the activity at a place where you both are feeling comfortable and relaxed.
*For your own personal confidence, safety and empowerment: Practice saying no to the people around you. So when/if you engage in sexual activity, you will feel confident in communicating to a sexual partner things like: “No, I’m not ready for that”, “No, I don’t want to do that” or “No, I don’t like that”.
‘No’ is not a bad word. It’s actually such an important word! ‘No’ communicates healthy boundaries. Every person has boundaries, but every person’s boundaries are different. So it’s important to learn how to communicate them and respect them.
? Informed? – You can ask different things before and during your encounter(s) to make sure you know the other person knows what they are agreeing to. Before: “Would you like me to…?” “Can I…?” “What would/do you like?” During: “Is this good?” “Is this okay?” “How does this/that feel?”
? Clear-minded? – Ask and observe.
Parties are not the safest place to be engaging in physical activities. Be smart. Make sure you and your partner are clear-minded and 100% aware of and present in what is going on. If you both are not clear-minded, it is not consensual. So if they’re acting Weird, stay Clear. ;) #yourewelcome
? Of age? – Ask them and ask their friends. (Facebook is sometimes a good way to check).
Again, be smart. If you’re unsure, it is not worth the risk.
? Before all sexual acts? – If you forgot, slow it down for a second and check up on the person. You don’t have to bring things to a dead stop, but a consensual slow is always better than assumed permission just because they haven’t stopped you. Assumed permission is still sexual assault.
In conclusion… consent is about respect. When you ask for consent you are telling someone that you recognize their body is not yours and you respect that. It also shows that you care about them as a person who is different from you.
VALUE people. Don’t use people. CARE about people. Don’t pressure people. Consensual acts are ALWAYS more enjoyable, not to mention legal.
No one DESIRES to be treated like an object. NOT. ONE. PERSON. Some people will settle because they don’t know better or different. Be that different for others, and KNOW that you DESERVE different. Don’t settle for unhealthy.
Every physical experience that you have should feel safe and leave you feeling cared about, not used. If it’s not going in a direction you are feeling uncomfortable with, communicate that. Stop it & talk about it. If they don’t care about how you are feeling or what you have to say, walk away.
Your body is yours, and no one has a right to mistreat it.
*For sexual assault information and/or help, go to: https://www.wavaw.ca or contact their crisis line @ 604-255-6344