Sexual consent

Consent. A forgotten term, not taught. The basis of every interpersonal relationship and the beginning of every violation and abuse of rights. Is it as easy as saying "no"? The concept of consent seems obvious but in real life, no one knows exactly what the term implies. Even women take years to understand what giving your consent means and we learn it the bad way, after years of experience.

In today's article, we will talk about consent, defining the limits of this powerful word as well as the lack of conscience that exists in education and recommendations on how to promote it. Keep reading to know more:

Let's start with, what's consent?

Consent is when a person permits or accepts something from another. Both sides always have to be free, without pressure or blackmail and fully aware. In terms of this article, we refer to sexual consent and its derivatives, but the basis is the same for all types.

Sounds easy, right? The problem is that although it is a problem strongly linked to sexuality, in sexual education in schools no one mentions or gives importance to consent. That's when problems like boys not knowing how to respect girls start.

Because boys are educated with the mindset that if they like a girl, they have to win her over. And the conquering culture of men implies wanting to take something without permission. They make them feel that they have the right to insist to receive. That if they get no for an answer, they have to keep trying until they get a yes.

On the other hand, girls are taught to let themselves be conquered, and once they are, give all when it has to be a mutual agreement. Watching movies and series, we can observe this kind of behavior, where there is too much social pressure on women to act a certain way and not say no, just remain silent until they get insisted and convinced.

However, this mindset is completely wrong. If you have to convince someone to get a yes, it's actually a no. Insisting means that there is a no since the beginning.

Consent is the first step that must be guaranteed before proceeding with an action that involves another party. Acting without consent is considered abuse, violation.

Lack of consent is an act of silence abuse that is completely normalized. It's time for consent to become an essential requisite, which everyone is aware of and knows it.

So, how to promote a culture of consent?

The key is always education. That's why some aspects that should be taught everywhere independently from age are:

1.- Teach to accept a no.- If you ask if the other person wants the same as you and they respond no, their answer must be accepted. We don't have to make deductions or assume we know what the other person is thinking about.

2.- Teach to say no.- A person that doesn't know the word no, can't say it. We should teach there isn't anything wrong with not wanting something, and that being clear and express directly our feelings can save us tons of problems.

3.- Corporal language.- It says more than a thousand words. If you're doing something and the other part doesn't accept it, it is a matter of paying attention to notice.

Some signals that can help us notice when someone isn't comfortable are:

  • If the person is rigid, moves away or has a serious, disgusted look.
  • f the other person doesn't show interest or puts things off.
  • If you don't have an explicit yes.

As simple as tea:

3.- Eliminate social pressure and prejudices.- If being a man, a woman rejects you, you don't have to say anything bad about her when she was clear with what she didn't want. If you hear a woman plays hard, she doesn't have to be cataloged with nicknames, she has the freedom to do whatever she wants or not. If a woman leaves clear she's not interested, don't insist where you aren't wanted. Most of the time we let ourselves influence by external opinions just to fit in, it's time to leave that behind.

4.- Don't wait for someone to realize and change.- Actions are a product of social construction. Things learned can be unlearned, so we better teach differently. Let's teach communication abilities, risk calculation and being responsible in decision making.

And remember we not only have to learn for our own experiences, it is vital to learn to detect when we see a similar situation in our environment. Because this problem occurs everywhere: in schools, in companies, on the streets, at home.

It is necessary to apply measures to prevent, erase and punish the violence we experience every day. We hope that one day no woman will suffer violence or abuse, will not be judged for her clothes, and will not hear derogatory jokes.

What do you think about it? What measures do you think should be implemented? Remember to follow us to stay in touch with this week's articles to celebrate International Women's Day.


Niñas bien podcast

Jessica Fernandez - Activist