How is consent like a cup of tea?

 

How is consent like a cup of tea and how did the Brits managed to turn it into an eduational video?
Check out this wonderful video from the Thames Valley Police in England for their #consent is everything campaign.  It uses the metaphor of making a cup of tea to explain sexual consent.

While the law is more complex than this video it’s still a very helpful video to explain consent and it is very engaging.  There’s been some pretty nasty consent education campaigns in the past that have blamed victims so I’m so happy to see something entertaining and simple to raise awareness about this very important issue.

The narrator speaks over animated stick figures,

“If you say ‘Hey, would you like a cup of tea?’ and they’re like, ‘Uh, you know, I’m not really sure,’ then you can make them a cup of tea, or not, but be aware that that they might not drink it.  And if they don’t drink it, then—and this is the important bit—don’t make them drink it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to watch them drink it. And if they say, ‘No, thank you’, then don’t make them tea. At all.”

“If they’re unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea, and they can’t answer the question, ‘Do you want tea?’ Because they’re unconscious.”

“You should just put the tea down, make sure the unconscious person is safe, and—this is the important part again—don’t make them drink the tea.”

A recent study revealed that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men had been sexually assaulted whilst at university. We desperately need good sexual education at schools that explain that you need “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” before starting any sexual activity. Consent means the people involved must be actively saying yes much more than the previous “no means no” model.

There is so much confusion out there about what consent actually means. A lot of us received no education about consent at all.  This can lead to many damaging situations where consent is ASSUMED when it was never given at all.

Survivors of sexual assault aswell as dealing with societal shame, stigma and victim blaming can be very confused about past events and struggle to understand clearly whether it was consensual or not. This can lead to years of emotional pain and anguish.

It’s important to remember that it’s never okay for someone to force or pressure you to have sex.

Survivors can end up internalising shame about experiences that happened  when they were younger that they weren’t sure whether they were consensual or not. It’s this burden that survivors can carry from their childhood or teenage years well into their adulthood. Here’s what some survivors have said.

Maybe it was my fault? I never explicitly said no as such… I didn’t run away…. I just lay there….. I thought that’s what I was meant to do….. I was too scared to say no……   I was so drunk I didn’t know what was happening…..  S/he was my boy/girlfriend so I didn’t think I could say no…..Isn’t that what you have to do at the end of dates?  They pressured me… I felt I had to give in..

 

The law says that silence doesn’t equal consent. Lack of protest or response doesn’t equal consent. You can withdraw consent at any time and consent isn’t guarranteed just because people have had sex in the past.

The new affirmative-consent movement is trying to get rid of all the layers of ambiguity and assumptions. Sometimes someone might be too scared to say no and feel pressured. They might say, “ok” or “fine.” This isn’t consent.

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Fletcher explains,

“The law is very clear. Sex without consent is rape. Awareness of what sexual consent means and how to get it is vital.

If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t want tea, and you are able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex? Whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything.”

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