This post starts a 3 part series on the topic of consent. In a couple of weeks we will explore what can make consent more challenging to understand and our third blog post on consent will talk about how to make sure you are giving and receiving proper consent.
The Basic Breakdown: What is Consent?
Consent is the “hot-topic” for today! You ready, Freddy? <- ( Boom. Asking for your consent. ;) ) It has become something you now often hear talked about on many different platforms, in schools and across media. We are definitely gaining a greater awareness of the amounts and frequencies of sexual assaults in and among celebrities, college students, high school students, and all in between. What we thought would/could be a simple and straight forward concept, actually has a lot of things that make it more complex. Including the “grey area/messy” situations we can find ourselves in.
You may be someone who…
...feels consent is a simple and straightforward concept, so why do we need to talk about it?!
…was accused of something being non-consensual and don’t understand why because you may have thought it was totally consensual!
…is so confused about what you actually need to do to have consent and are worried you may be missing something.
Whatever questions and perspectives you come with today, my hope is that we can clear some things up, and understand why it may not be as simple as just saying “no” if you don’t want to do something.
The biggest change that has happened recently with consent has been the change in its common phrase. Once being “No means No”, consent has now changed to “Only ‘Yes!’ means yes, everything else means no.” Why? We will get into that shortly. But first, what is consent?
Let’s start with a basic breakdown of consent:
Enthusiastic! – both parties want to do this act and have communicated it in an affirmative way verbally to the other person. (‘Yes!’ ‘Yeah!’ ‘Let’s do it!’) When a person is excited to do something, majority of people are naturally enthusiastic about it.
Mutual – both parties have separately decided to do this activity and then come together in that same decision.
Voluntary – the person is freely making the decision without being pressured, manipulated, persuaded, guilt-tripped, threatened, blackmailed, or coerced. Person freely feels the ability to say “no” without any fear.
Informed – They know the act they are consenting to.
Clear-Minded – not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person legally cannot consent if they are drunk or high.
Of Age – of legal consensual age. The age of consent in Canada is 16 years old.
BEFORE all sexual acts – BEFORE any type of sexual contact (not just sex). Even if you are in a relationship you need consent every time.
E.M.V.I.C.O.B…EMVICOB…an acronym easy to remember (ha!)
So consent seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Well as some of you may know from personal experiences or stories, it’s just not always that simple…
In part 2 we will be addressing the questions around how and why consent can often become complicated.
To be continued…
Simple Not Simple: Why, When, and How Does Consent Become Complicated?