What is sexual consent? Consent means that all the participants in a sexual encounter agree to it: fully, completely and willingly.
It means no one is being pressured, drugged or manipulated to have sexual contact/sex. Consent means everyone respects all sexual boundaries and, in turn, we don’t cross those boundaries uninvited.
Poster for Re: Consent workshop
To find out more, come to the next Re: Consent workshop Wednesday, Oct. 23, starting at noon at 203 Bethune College, Keele campus. The workshop, presented by York’s Centre for Human Rights and hosted by Bethune College, is open to all genders.
Consent is more than just individual sexual acts. Consent is also an opportunity to create a different world, a world where people can question the way they date, hook up, desire and fall in love/lust. Practising consent allows everyone to create a world where they can redefine relationships, ensure safety, and respect and care for one another.
Most of all, consent can create a world where people can liberate themselves from a harmful culture that hurts people every day. That harmful culture can include standing in a locker room and feeling forced to hear another rape joke, yet feeling too paralyzed to say something about it.
It can make some think twice about ordering more than one drink, because someone might interpret it as a willingness to have sex. It is the same harmful culture that can put a panicky look in the eyes of a girl someone has just asked for directions on an empty street past midnight, or that forces many to engage in sex not out of love or for pleasure, but because of pressure or need to prove something to others.
That culture thrives on vulnerability rather than on solidarity and care. It claims that some of people “had it coming” because of the way they dressed or acted.
Understanding consent, and respecting and cherishing it, is the best way to fight rape culture and stop sexual violence. It is within reach. Everyone can own it.