What is consent?
At Project Consent, we think that consent is simple - if it’s not yes, it’s no. Consent must be present to participate in any form of interaction, and it is the only way to know that everyone is in agreement with the following actions. For consent to be given, the person must not be guilted, pressured, or coerced into saying yes. Manipulation, of any shape or size, is a form of non-consent. Consent is what makes sex an enjoyable experience!
Planned Parenthood defines consent as:
- Freely given
Consent has to be communicated by all parties, and saying ‘yes’ once does not mean that the individual is agreeing for future encounters. Every time you engage in a sexual activity, consent must be received. You have the right to say yes to one activity and no to another. You also have the right to turn down sexual activity at any time, even if it is with someone you have had sex with before. Just because you said ‘yes’ at one point, it does not mean that you are unable to change your mind. If at any point you are uncomfortable, you have the right to stop.
Please remember that without consent - it isn’t sex, it is sexual assault and that is illegal. If you are unsure of what constitutes as consent, a person cannot give their consent if they are:
- under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- under threat or coercion
- a minor
- impaired in a way (physically or mentally) that inhibits them from giving clear and active consent
It is against the law to violate someone and without proper consent, that is what you are doing. It is estimated that one out of five women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. For men, the estimate is one in six. Sex is supposed to be fun - so why ruin it for someone else with selfish actions? It is never worth it and the repercussions of being sexually assaulted can last forever. Communication is key when it comes to consent. Both you and your partner should talk about what you each feel comfortable with, activities that you do not want to engage in, and your boundaries.
The bottom line is that consent is necessary for any sexual activity that you want to engage in. To simplify it a bit further, here’s a short video:
How you can help promote a culture of consent?
We unfortunately live in a world where many sexual assault cases favor the offender while victims are continuously ridiculed and questioned about how much they had to drink or what their outfit was. No matter what an individual is wearing or how intoxicated they are, they are NEVER asking for it. To help promote a culture a consent, we need to eradicate the current rape culture present in our society. Project Consent defines rape culture as a global epidemic in which sexual assault is trivialized or belittled. In popular culture, rape is often sexualized or used as a joke in entertainment. Rather than accepting this way of thinking, we advocate a better future in which sexual assault is condemned without a second thought.
First things first - we need to build a consent culture. By promoting consent, we are reminding society that violations of someone's agency should never be taken lightly. Rather than continuing to teach that the blame is on victims, we want it known that consent is always an established right, not a removable luxury. Creating a consent-based culture is the groundwork to battling sexual assault as a whole and while we don't expect it to eradicate sexual assault altogether, we believe that it's a message worth putting out there.
You may wonder how you can help or you may think that it’s hard to help establish a culture of consent. It may be hard but with everyone’s help though, it is possible. The smallest action can help in promoting a consent culture, and the more people we reach, the more attainable the goal is.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, speak up. Do not let yourselves be silenced in fear. If someone confides in you about their sexual assault, do not shame them but be there for them. The next time someone says a rape joke, ask them to stop and explain why it is not funny because rape is never a joke. Instead of slut-shaming others, support one another.
Why is a promoting a consent culture important?
Because victims shouldn’t feel guilty about what happened to them and offenders should be persecuted justly. Speaking out and educating others is important because the more we speak out to change the culture we are part of, the less people there are who think that these tweets are funny:
Remember, anyone can make a difference by simply listening and speaking out.
In June of 2014, Project Consent began as a simple statement to open up discussion of a consent-based culture, as opposed to a culture where rape victims are stigmatized and sexual assault is swept under the rug. Lunette Menstrual Cup is helping to foster this discussion by donating 10% of their US online store profits March 15th through the 22nd, so that Project Consent can continue their mission.