What is consent?
Consent is permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something.
Consent needs respect and communication. Consent is an important concept for people to learn about from an early age. It can lead to better relationships with family, friends, peers, romantic partners, and spouses.
Consent includes knowing and respecting a person’s own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others. Understanding consent means that a person has the skills to leave a situation that doesn’t feel comfortable, and respects when other people want to do the same.
Can consent be implied? If you are 80% sure is that enough?
Simple way to explain consent
Describing consent is simple for some and more complex for others, talking about sex can be difficult sometimes. This video provides an accessible introduction for people of all ages and comfort levels with this subject matter.
Everyone has Bodily Autonomy the right to have control over your own body. This can apply to many situations including, public displays of affection, hugs, cuddling, or any physical contact.
Does hugging someone require consent?
Does drug use affect consent?
Does body language matter for consent?
How do you get consent?
How do you give consent?
Can you change your mind at any point after consenting?
This video answers the questions above but you might still have questions:
Does the age of partners matter for consent?
Yes, your country, state, or province will have specific laws about the age people can consent to sexual activities. There are also rules about the age difference between the participants. Example: In Alberta, at 15 a person can consent to sexual activity with someone less than 5 years older than them, as long as the person is not in a position of authority.
Does the job, amount of power, or authority a person has, matter in consent?
Yes, if you are a minor (younger than the age of majority) and there is a person in a position of power over you such as a boss, teacher, coach, etc. Legally you cannot give consent to engage in sexual activity.
Take 10 minutes to look up your local laws related to the age of consent.
Which of these are non-verbal signs of consent?
There are many issues around consent, the best way to be more comfortable with these key concepts is to think about and discuss these ideas.
Can you think of ways people might say NO using body language instead of words?
Does the tone of voice someone uses matter in consent? How about eye contact?
Could you explain consent to another person easily? If not, why?
How can people become more comfortable discussing consent and sex?
A hetrosexual couple is interested in a sexual activity, who is responsible for ensuring consent occurs?
This Byte was designed with the intent of teaching the basics of consent but unfortunately, consent is not always respected.
If you are a survivor or victim of sexual assault, rape or need to speak to a trusted adult, the following types of organizations are good options for support:
Hospitals and medically trained professionals.
Local Assult Support Charities
Family or Child Services
Therapist or counselors
Educators or administrators
Local Law Enforcement
This is a great place to start, Rumie has many Bytes that address other aspects of consent.
Discussing consent might seem awkward, not only because it involves the subject of sex, but also because the majority of today’s adults didn’t get consent education in school.
Making certain that people fully understand concepts like having control over their bodies and verbal consent can go a long way toward ensuring that their romantic relationships are safer, healthier, and happier.
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This Byte has been authored by
Director of Content Programs | Debate Coach