What might consent look like?

Here is the text of a comment I contributed to a Guardian comment thread recently:

Come on guys – it really is not complicated

Verbal explicit consent: Yes / Yes Please / Oh my god, take me upstaris / Come here and F**k me big boy / etc / etc
Non verbal explicit consent: Removes clothes, removes yours, grabs you, pulls you in. (Or any other unambiguous willing, wanting participation – this is what “enthusiastic” means) Consent must be ongoing – if at some point she seems less into it, and there is any doubt “You OK babe?” or “You still into this?” or similar. If the answer is “no” then stop, and without making her feel bad.

Non Verbal Non consent: Flirting / Revealing clothing / being a “party girl” / going back to hotel room or house / Being drunk / Having sex with your friend (seriously, it staggers me that some men need to be told this – if your friend is with someone, dont FFS think it’s OK for you to join in) / Passively “allowing” you to do stuff (non resistance). This one is important, you cannot tell the difference between “passively allowing” and “submitting/frightened/frozen allowing” If she is passive or unresponsive STOP.

If you take any of these or similar as “implied” consent, you are seriously risking being a rapist.

All verbal or nonverbal explicit consent is invalidated if the individual is so intoxicated by drink or drugs, he/she is unable to make rational judgements. No consent can be given if the person is unconscious or asleep, but the law also recognises it is possible to be conscious and interacting, but still too drunk (incapacitated) to give a valid consent. How drunk is that? – if you are asking the question, then STOP.

A couple of notes:
1 – If you’re involved in “hooking up” or one night stands. You need to be aware that if you don’t know your partner, then you are MUCH less able to judge non verbal cues. You need to be MUCH more careful if relying on non verbal consent that it is totally unambiguous.

2- in response to some comments: Consent when not really wanting it. Consider these two examples.

Partner lovingly participates even though not totally into it, because she *wants* do to something nice for you. (But why would you want to if she doesn’t?). This would (at least in my opinion) be a valid consent.

She gives in though being nagged, coerced, bargained with etc etc. This would not – she does not want it and if she is only agreeing to prevent something worse or more annoying, that is not consent.

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