Written by Gable Munn
Consent: Why is one word so important?
Consent is a powerful word that has many implications. To be specific today, we are talking about sexual consent, what it is and what it isn’t. To start off, it is important for you, the reader, to know that consent is a difficult topic to address. If at any time you feel triggered by any of the material in this post, please contact someone at The Family Place Utah to discuss your experience.
What is Consent?
Consent is an agreement to do the same thing, at the same time, and in the same way (University, 2021).
- Doing the same thing.Doing the same thing means communicating with a potential sexual partner about what you are going to do together. This means talking about sex. Most importantly, ask and be specific.
- Doing it at the same time.Doing things at the same time means that consent must be continually given. This means asking questions like “Do you want to do more,” and “Do you want to keep going” throughout the sexual encounter. If someone said yes to sexual contact yesterday, that does not mean they consent to it today.
- Doing it in the same way.Consent has to be specific. Because someone consented to a kiss, does not convey that they consent to other kinds of sexual contact. When done correctly, consent is specific enough that both partners know what will occur beforehand.
- Not simply a lack of no
- Not forced
Remember, consent is as easy as FRIES! If consent is not freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific, then it is not consent.
It is important to know your rights, what consent is, and what it is not. If you have not given explicit consent to sexual contact and would like to talk about it, please know that we are always here to help you. The Family Place Utah is here to help, or direct you to resources that can assist you in your healing. As Akshay Dubey said, “Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life.” (The Family Place Utah, 2019).