April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the US and the theme for 2019 is ‘I Ask’. This year’s theme is all about consent…why it’s important to ask for someone’s consent, how to ask for consent and respecting if someone says “No”.
What Is Consent?
Consent is basically asking for someone’s permission to do something AND accepting their answer. As early as kids asking each other at school if they want to play is an example of consent. Adults asking each other for permission to post picture of them on social media is another example…yes, you should ask your friend if it’s okay to post a picture of them…not everyone is comfortable with their image being public.
Consent is Not Just About Asking for Sex
When we learn to ask for consent for the “little” things, then it should be easier to ask when it’s time for sex. For example, finding out if it’s okay to text someone at work…seems simple…but everybody’s work is different. Some persons have a lot of downtime and thus, can accommodate texting while at work. Others are engaged from the moment they clock in to the moment they clock out and thus, have no time to read, much less respond to texts.
At the core of consent is RESPECT. Respect for each other. Think about how your action will make the other person feel. Would you not prefer that someone would take the time to seek your permission instead of assuming you’ll be cool with whatever?
Let’s Respect Each Other
- If someone sends you a nude photo, DO NOT share it with anyone. Respect the fact that they sent it to you for your eyes only
- If you request a nude photo and the person says “No”, RESPECT their decision
- When you ask for consent for anything, ask in such a way that the person knows that you are okay if they say “No”. DO NOT make the person feel pressured.
Learn more about sexual assault awareness and consent at https://www.nsvrc.org/saam. This is the website for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in the US. The NSVRC has some really cool videos like this one:
Watch and share these videos to spread awareness about the importance of consent.
Respect to all!