The first Wednesday of every month The Domestic Violence Shelter will present our “Wednesday Workshop” on Facebook. This month, Jill and Amy talk about consent. If you missed the video, follow this link to our Facebook page! If you have any questions not covered in this post, or would like to speak to a trained advocate, call our 24/7 Crisis Line at 1-800-931-SAFE (7233)
The Domestic Violence Shelter was one of the first three shelters in Ohio when we opened the doors in 1979. The Shelter is more than just a safe place for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking- we are also a program. You can learn more about these programs by going to https://www.thedvshelter.com/. The Shelter offers the following programs and services:
- 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-800-931-SAFE (7233)
- Emergency Shelter
- Case Management
- Youth Advocacy
- Peer Support Groups
- Sexual Assault Advocacy Program
- Legal Advocacy
- Community Education
- Volunteer Program
Every 73 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is a serious issue that affects people of all genders, sexual orientations, religions, cultures, ages and all other demographics. 1 in 6 women have been the victim of sexual assault. With sexual assault impacting so many people, it’s vital that we talk about consent in our community.
What is Consent?
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries. When you are engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication- and it should happen every time!
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under pressure, intimidation or threat that is not consent. Unequal power dynamics such as engaging in sexual activity with an employee or student, also means that consent cannot be freely given.
How Does Consent Work?
Consent is all about communication. You can consent to certain activities and then withdraw that consent if you are no longer comfortable with what is happening. An example would be being comfortable with kissing but do not feel ok with anything more.
You can withdraw consent at any point and for any reason. One way to do this is to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop. Withdrawing consent can sometimes be challenging or difficult to do verbally, so non-verbal cues can also be used to convey this. So if you feel that your partner is not into what is going on, whether they are pulling away or just not participating, it is important to check in with them.
Consent Does NOT Look Like
It’s just as important to recognize things that are NOT consent!
- Refusing to acknowledge “no”
- A partner who is disengaged, nonresponsive or visibly upset
- Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting or kissing is an invitation for anything more
- Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state (16 years old in Ohio)
- Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol
- Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
- Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you have done it in the past
One easy way to remember consent is to use the acronym FRIES
Freely Given: Doing something sexual with someone is a decision that should be made without pressure, force, manipulation or while incapacitated.
Reversible: Anyone can change their mind about what they want to do, at any time. Even if you’ve done it before or are in the middle of having sex
Informed: Be honest. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, that’s not consent.
Enthusiastic: If someone isn’t excited or really into it, that’s not consent
Specific: Saying yes to one thing (like making out) doesn’t mean they’ve said yes to others (like having sex)
Consent and Tea
Looking for a fun way to talk about and explain consent? Check out this quirky, short video!