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Emotional Wellness

Are There Any Blurred Lines With Consent?

Are There Any Blurred Lines With Consent

There are no blurred lines when it comes to consent. So many women have been sexually assaulted, experienced abuse, and have lived with the belief that it was their fault. They have lived with thoughts like: “It was my fault for standing there so frozen in shock,” “I shouldn’t have gone inside his room/car,” “If I smiled less he wouldn’t have thought I was interested,” and “Of course too much of my skin was exposed. What was I thinking?”. These statements only hint at the extent to which we, as women, have taken the blame for the actions carried out against us, the victims. 

Why must we be the ones to blur the lines between the yes or no of consent? Why must we allow men who have violated us to roam free and unbothered while we live with the guilt and shame? There is no “if” or “maybe” in these situations. Consent involves each party expressing a willingness to participate in any particular activity. If you did not give an outright “yes” then, still, you are most definitely not to blame… not even a little bit.

Understanding The Relationship Between Consent & Sexual Assault

The term, “sexual assault” is misunderstood by many persons, both male and female. Many women aren’t even sure of their right to decline participation in any activity because they just do not know what sexual assault is. Sexual assault is any type of sexual behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient and makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. This includes touches on intimate parts of the body, unwanted kisses, and hugs, as well as comments made with sexual innuendos or lined with sexual intentions. As long as you did not explicitly express that you were willing to accept or participate in these activities, this is considered sexual assault.

How Far Can “No” Go?

The answer is, “nowhere”.

If you want to give consent but not completely and with your own conditions, express that to your partners as soon as possible. It is important that we try to communicate as clearly and explicitly as possible, saying exactly what we mean. If you don’t feel as though you can be so open with your partner, then maybe you’re not ready to partake in whatever activity it is that needs your consent. Get more comfortable with them, work on understanding them, help them to understand you, work on your communication, among other things, then move on from there.

When Is The Right Time to Say “No”?

You can decide to give or to take away consent whenever you want. There is no rule anywhere that says that you can only do this at specific times. There is no rule that says you cannot remove consent at any given time. Even if these rules exist, they are to be broken. 

But… What About Consent If It’s My Partner?

Yes, even if you have a partner, your “no” should never be ignored.

When Is It Right to Go Against Consent?

NEVER. Don’t even try to justify any excuse.

Consent is such a widely disputed topic, when really we just need to have the decency and respect to NOT carry out sexual behaviour without the other persons’ clear permission. We must also remember that minors and the chronically mentally ill cannot give consent. Any blurs should be cleared up. Anyone seeking consent should be of an age and with the mental capacity to communicate willingness, or the lack thereof. Women, it’s time that we really understand what consent is and our rights regarding it so that we can take a stand against violation. Your body is yours and no one else’s. You have the full ability and all right to give, remove and deny allowance.

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