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.”

What is Consent?

Check out this new video made in America for college students. Latest research has found that one in five women may be sexually assaulted during college years and 40% of men admit to using coercive methods.

Consent is  permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

Consent to sex is when you freely and voluntary agree to engage in sexual activity. This means communicating yes on your own terms.

 

What is not consent; silence, being passed out, fear or being made to feel too scared to say no.

You’ve probably heard, “no means no” before. Just relying on hearing the word “no” isn’t enough because there are many other ways to communicate no. A person doesn’t have to scream, kick you away or run off to communicate ‘no.’ It can also be freezing up, rolling away, silence or saying they’re too tired, tensing up, not moving, stiffening of muscles. Sometimes people don’t feel like they can say no even though they want to.

 

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One of the best ways to know for sure that someone is consenting is to ask questions like;

  • Are you happy with this?
  • Is this okay?
  • Do you want to stop?
  • Do you want to go further?

If you find yourself in a sexual situation that you’re not sure about and you don’t know how or don’t feel safe to say no, then trying saying;

 

  • Can we stay like this for while?
  • Can we slow down?
  • I want to stop
  • I only want to kiss/hug etc for now..

You have not consented to sex if;

  • you were asleep or unconscious, or had been drinking or taking drugs and were not aware of what was going on.
  • you are in a relationship and said ‘no’ to having sex.
  • Someone put drugs in your drink and you were not aware of what was going on.
  • The perpetrator used or threatened to use force against you or someone else.
  • The perpetrator bullied you, for example, by threatening to leave you in a deserted area at night.
  • You thought what was happening was for medical reasons, for example, if a health practitioner gave you an unnecessary and inappropriate examination.
  • The person held them against your  will by taking you away, keeping you somewhere, or locking you in a room.
  • You were afraid of the person and what they might do to you or someone else.

 

Coercion is used in manipulating people to have sex until they give in. Coercing someone into sex is sexual assault.  Examples of coercion are;

  • pressuring (e.g. repeatedly asking someone until they are worn down)
  • threatening (e.g. “I’ll break up with you if you don’t have sex with me”)
  • intimidating (e.g. smashing something when someone says “no”)
  • blackmailing (e.g. “I’ll tell everyone you’re gay if you don’t”)
  • guilt-tripping (e.g “If you really loved me you would have sex with me”)

Coercion is when the person is not given the space to freely say “no.”

Our society often doesn’t take consent seriously, just look at phrases like “playing hard to get.” If there’s no clear consent then it is sexual assault or rape.

If someone is kissing you or has gone back to your house it doesn’t mean they have consented to intercourse and they can change their mind at any time.

Under Australian law consent to sexual activity must be ‘free and voluntary’. There are certain instances where there is no consent to sexual activity, or where consent is vitiated. These are;

  1. lack of capacity to consent, including because a person is asleep or unconscious, or so affected by alcohol or other drugs as to be unable to consent;
  2. the actual use of force, threatened use of force against the complainant or another person, which need not involve physical violence or physical harm;
  3. unlawful detention;
  4. mistaken identity and mistakes as to the nature of the act (including mistakes generated by the fraud or deceit of the accused); and
  5. any position of authority or power, intimidation or coercive conduct.

Consent is hot! Consensual sex is dam sexy! Understanding consent is important when we want to enjoy great sex and healthy relationships.

If any of this blog has brought up issues for you, please get in touch here for a chat. 
I look forward to hearing from you,

Blessings,

Cat