Social Justice F*ckRapeCulture: What is consent? By The New Political Posted on December 5, 2013 4 min read 0 0 355 In the growing discussion about rape culture and sexual assault on campus, we at f*ckrapeculture thought it would be a good idea to share our definition of consent. We don’t just want to talk about problems in the community, we also want to talk about how to foster a positive, consent-based environment. Consent is agreement to any kind of sexual activity. It’s a verbal affirmation. Consent has to be voluntary; it cannot be coerced and doesn’t come from pressure to have sex. Consent is enthusiastic and not reluctant. Consent is informed and continuous. All parties know what’s about to take place and are enthusiastic about it. Just because somebody consents to one act doesn’t mean they consent to all acts, and partners should check in with each other to make sure they still have consent. Consent is never assumed. The absence of a no is not a yes. So how do you know if you have consent? You can ask! Visual and physical signs can also be an indication of consent. Does your partner seem engaged in what’s going on, or do they seem disconnected? Are they excited and in a positive mood, or are they upset or distant? Are they responding to you physically and playing an active role, or are they lying still and only passively participating? Do they seem tense, unsure, or uncomfortable? If so, ask them if they’re okay! These indicators are not substitutions for verbal affirmation. The issue of consent tends to come up when people are intoxicated. A person who is intoxicated can’t legally give consent. When we use the word “intoxicated” we mean that a person can’t consent if they are too drunk to make decisions or communicate with his or her partner. If he or she is not in control of him or herself, they can’t give consent. However, consent shouldn’t only be a part of conversations about intoxication. It should also be a part of conversations about all sexual activity. These conversations may seem awkward at first, because we live in a culture that doesn’t talk about consent. But clear, honest, open communication is an important part of healthy sexuality. For more detailed information, feel free to contact F*ckRapeCulture at [email protected] to set up a consent training workshop for your organization.