Only about 35% of incidences of sexual assault are reported to authorities. One of the reasons for this is the way that we talk about assault and rape culture. We blame victims instead of focusing our attention on perpetrators.
When it comes to consent, we need to shift our teaching and discussion to give power back to those that are at risk of an assault. Instead of waiting for a clear “No”, we should be teaching all those who engage in physical acts how to recognize the clear markers of “Yes” and only to move forward when those indicators are there. This design is meant to emphasize that the absence of a clear “No” does not mean that any party is giving their full consent.
Artist: Bridget Moore
Only eight states in the US require teachers to talk about consent during their sexual education training. Only 24 states mandate sex education at all in public schools. This is a clear indicator that many teens are likely not getting the comprehensive information that they need to fully grasp this important aspect of sex and relationships. (CNN)
A poll conducted by The Washington Post in 2015 found that 15% of college students agreed that someone had consented if they did not say “no”. Furthermore, the same study reported that a fifth of participants felt that someone was consenting if they engaged in foreplay, including kissing and touching. However, there are a million reasons why someone may be unable to say no in the moment, including coercion, threat or violence or being incapacitated. Plus, a person has the right to withdraw consent at any time. (Washington Post)
Question: Should people always wait for direct verbal consent at the beginning of a relationship? At what point does this change?
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