Advocacy, Sex & Relationships

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – I Ask

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!

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10 Comments

  1. A lot of people don’t realize this and just feel people are ok with whatever decisions they make concerning them. It is really good to know that there are awareness programs like I ASK that educates people to seek for other peoples consent before they do anything that would be about such a person or involve such a person.

    So many relationships have ended because this was done the wrong way. These sought of awareness programs can go a long way and would affect the lives of a lot of people.

    1. Alicia says:

      Hi Jay,

      Awareness programs are very important. Even more important, is what families teach their children about respecting others and themselves. Families need to be taught how to have conversations with their kids about topics such as sex…I think this is what would really help.

      Cheers!

  2. darrickramos says:

    Thank you so much for thus enlightenment. Its such an insightful post addressing a very serious and germane issue. The matter of sexual assault is in most cases counted as a young person’s deed. But most times, this occur consistently in marriages when a husband doesn’t take into consideration the partners feelings and vice versa. The central point here is respect and I like the points highlighted under it. Its just perfect. 

    thanks for sharing this post

    1. Alicia says:

      Hi Darrick,

      You raised a very important point: sexual assualt can happen in scenarios where we least expect it, e.g. in marriage. We should be vigilant and respectful of each other and supportive of the survivors.

      Cheers!

  3. Brent says:

    Thanks for sharing this article on sexual assault awareness month. No doubt such an article comes from a caring heart and a person that shows concern about the assault. Many people have gotten it wrong in taking others for granted by not seeking their opinion and consent to know if they agree or not. Many women have been assaulted by their husbands on matter of sex even as they are married. I agree with all you said on this article and it is an eye opener and have learnt something important. Great job.

    1. Alicia says:

      Hi Brent,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Indeed, many persons are misinformed, thinking they can do whatever they want without ensuring the other person’s consent. This is why educational programs and awareness campaigns are so important, as well as parents/caregivers teaching their kids to respect themselves and others.

      Cheers!

  4. Cathy Cavarzan says:

    What a wonderful campaign to get people talking about the sometimes very awkward but so important subject. Not just in the down syndrome community but across the board. I ask…such a simple statement yet so powerful. I have a niece with down syndrome and also a god son, so your website is of great interest to me and full of tips! Respect for another individual and for yourself is so empowering,

    1. Alicia says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Thank you so much for visiting HappyDowns and I am so happy that you have found the website to be interesting.  We send lots of love to your niece and godson. Indeed sexual assault awareness is important to all persons and so we should continue to have these conversations within our families, albeit uncomfortable.

      Feel free to stop by any time and share your thoughts and experiences with us.

      Take care.

  5. RoDarrick says:

    Hi Alicia, I can only commend you for bringing up this issue of sexual assault and consent.

    communication through language is the sole reason why human beings are more advanced than any other animal and for a communication chain to be complete, it requires a feedback. The feedback is the consent that gives a go ahead or No, I’m not interested. Since sex is a thing of pleasure, it should require the consent of the two parties involved and not one party trying to ascertain their feeling on the other. 

    I like the fact that you address term respect in line with this discourse. One should take into consideration others and learn to respect whatsoever decisions they take rather than disrespecting their decisions. That is inhumane.

    thanks for sharing this post

    1. Alicia says:

      Hi RoDarrick,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and for sharing your thoughts. Let us all continue to have these conversations with our friends and family in hopes of spreading awareness and educating them on how to treat others.

      Cheers!

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