Monday, September 28, 2015

The Concept of Consent is NOT Difficult

Written by: Fenna Vlekke

Please stop. Stop pretending like consent is something difficult, that needs to be explained endlessly. Stop saying things like 'I never know what a woman wants'. Stop reinforcing the idea that there is something like a grey area. Let's just all be honest here. We don't need hundreds of different analogies abour consent to understand what (not) agreeing to something looks/sounds like. We all understand perfectly. The only thing people are unclear about, and need to be taught, is the basic human right not to be touched or invaded without consent. 

Image courtesy of stockimages at
Through most of my healing I was desperately trying to figure out if I fought him enough. If my 'no' was clear enough. I know a lot of survivors go through the same process of doubting themselves. It makes us feel guilty and ashamed. It makes it more difficult to come forward or be honest with ourselves about what happened. On the other end, the people who assaulted us can go on with their lives as they were. They just need to tell themselves that we weren't clear enough. And they have a big part of our society behind them. This is all part of rape culture. Because it shouldn't matter how much someone did to stop someone from raping them. It's not about that.

When talking about sexual assault, the focus is often misplaced. It's often not so much about what someone didn't want to happen, but more about if someone let it happen. A significant group of men and women seem to think that, as long as their sexual partner lets them, it's all okay. If (s)he wants to have sex often seems unimportant (maybe more like a bonus? After all, consent is sexy..). This is not because it's unclear if (s)he wants to have sex. Because if that were true, and if they'd care, they'd make sure they knew before proceeding. Patriarchy has taught us that a lack of a persistent 'no' is all that is required. Therein lies the problem. Especially because rapists have a million different ways to prevent that from happening. Everybody should have the right not to have their body touched or invaded unless they consent to it. Only when they do, are people allowed to proceed with acts the other person agreed to. This is not optional.

I don't need to tell anyone when there's (lack of) consent. I don't need to give endless examples of how you can know someone doesn't want something. 95% of the time it's perfectly clear. In the remaining 5%, you need to find out. It's not rocket science. Pretending like consent is complicated, is a tool for people to keep the current system the way it is. Let's not fall for it.

Written by: Fenna Vlekke
Country: The Netherlands
Social media:
Twitter: @FennaVlekke

No comments:

Post a Comment