Of consent, and the sheer disrespect of it.

con·sent

(kən-sĕnt′)

intr.v.con·sent·ed, con·sent·ing, con·sents

1. To give assent, as to the proposal of another; agree: consent to medical treatment; consent to going on a business trip; consent to see someone on short notice.
Consent – a word that has so many misinterpretations it is not funny. Consent? That’s easy to understand you’d think! Right?
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Image Courtesy : National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Wrong – if the world actually understood or even tried to have an understanding of consent, the rates of sexual abuse, assault and rape would have dropped dramatically. Did you know 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime?

Although I’d like to not have ever faced it – I have, on multiple levels, seen it happen at close quarters, to me, and friends. I could tell you stories of being eighteen and in a strange city, scared sh*tless because some man couldn’t stop following me to the hostel – because I’d asked him for the time, of all things, that man took friendly banter as consent.

Or I could tell you of the friend, who’d only accepted a lift from a male colleague, who ended being felt up – because she sat in the front seat. I kid you not, when confronted – all that creep had to say was – “But she sat in the front with me, after asking for a lift.” Here, sitting in the front seat became “consent.”

Or the time another was harassed, with threatening phone calls, love letters in blood, and messages, and maligning Facebook posts from a jilted ex, right until her wedding day, and even after. Like the picture says, consent means asking every time. Just because she liked you in the past, doesn’t mean she has given you consent for the rest of your life.

Do we really not understand that consent to touch a woman is only when she explicitly says so?

Ever since I’ve been technically “single”, I’ve faced multiple instances where people assume that my friendliness or general camaraderie is consent in some form. Thankfully, every instance is a learning lesson to be more safe-guarded the next time, but when will we actually understand that a no means just that – A fucking NO?

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