Everyday Consent

Posted On April 5, 2018
Categories Uncategorized

People often think consent is only important when it comes to sex. Really, consent is about always choosing to respect personal and emotional boundaries. By practicing consent in everyday situations, shows value in the choices of others.

Ask for consent when touching

  • It’s important to ask for consent before hugging, tickling or other kinds of touch.
  • Ask sincerely so others understand it’s okay to say no.
  • For people who have experienced sexual abuse, any unexpected touch can be scary and traumatic. Others may just prefer more personal space.

For example:

Is it okay if I put my arm around you? or, “Want to hug or wave goodbye?

Respect Privacy

  • Every individual has different personal boundaries resulting in a spectrum of relationship intimacies. While some people are more expressive about private matters, others are more inclined to keep personal life confidential.
  • While exchanging personal information with another individual, it is important to make sure no boundaries are crossed.

For example:

My cousin was assaulted and is afraid they will never feel okay again. Is it okay if I tell them that you’re a survivor, too? It’s all right if you’re not comfortable with that.

Ask permission

  • Just like every person has different boundaries about touch, every individual feels differently about sharing personal details online, like photos.
  • Before tagging or posting photos of another person, it is crucial to explicitly have that person’s consent.

For example:

This is a great photo of all of us! Is it okay if I share it online, or
should I take another one without the kids in it? I know you don’t often post photos of them.

Sex and Consent

  • Sex without consent is not sex. It is sexual assault.
  • Consent must be freely given.
  • The individual approving consent must be cognitive to understand what specifically is being agreed upon.
  • Approved consent can be changed upon the individual’s liking and wants.
  • Consent needs to be clear and enthusiastic. Silence or the absence of no does not mean consent confirmation.
  • Past consent does not mean current or future consent.
  • When drugs and alcohol are involved, clear consent is not possible. A person who is intoxicated or impaired cannot give consent.

How to Handle the No

  • Whenever asking for a person’s consent, the answer could be no. Accept the answer and move on.
  • Do not pressure the individual to change decisions.
  • It is okay to feel disappointed with a no answer, but always remember that respecting boundaries is the right thing to do.

© 2017 National Sexual Violence Resource Center