What is Consent?

Consent is a part of our every day lives. It is a crucial aspect of all our relationships, whether romantic, professional, or platonic. In this #YesSheCan blog, we will explore the definition of consent, its importance, and what it can look like in different settings.

What is consent?

Consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Moreover, consent is an ongoing process of discussing your boundaries and what you are comfortable with. Consent can be verbal or non-verbal, such as a simple shake of the head. Consent is sober, enthusiastic, and most importantly, mutual. Even after you have consented, it is still okay to revoke your consent. Researchers found that one in every eight women do not believe they have the right to withdraw consent once the activity has started. Consent is entirely voluntary, and it is your choice whether or not to consent.

What is not consent?

Unfortunately, due to lack of education, what does and does not qualify as consent can be a bit confusing. One of the most famous phrases surrounding consent is “No means no”. While this is true, there are many more signs as to whether or not a person is giving consent. The absence of no does not mean yes. Here are a few examples of what consent does not look like:

  • Silence
  • Being incapable of saying yes or no (under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
  • Consent to do an activity at a different time
  • Consent to something else
  • Coerced consent (feeling pressure to consent)
  • Clothing
  • Behavior

consent in everyday life

Consent is a part of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. In our careers, romantic relationships, and friendships, we can make our boundaries clear through consent.

consent in the Workplace

In the workplace, consent can take place between colleagues as well between a subordinate and leader. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a very unfortunate reality of the world we live in today. Professional settings can cultivate consent culture by providing employees by implementing a “zero-tolerance” policy, providing information on consent, and offering helpful resources to victims.

consent in friendships

In our friendships, consent and boundaries can build safety and trust. Understanding our friends’ boundaries is essential to a healthy friendship. By asking your friends if its okay to hug them, borrow a jumper, or share information with another friend, you can spark conversations that can have a positive, lasting impact. You can make your boundaries clear during conversations like these, as well.

consent in relationships

In our relationships, consent cultivates healthy habits that allow for all parties to have a clear understanding of what the other person wants. Having conversations surrounding consent, outside of physically intimate settings, can enhance the respect and trust within the relationship. No matter how long the relationship has been, it is crucial to continue to ask for consent as boundaries can change.

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