Consent: What does a “yes” look like?

If you freely allowed the person who rapes or assaults you into your room is that consent?

If they have been flirting and/or sexting with you is that consent?

If you and your partner have talked about having sex before is that consent?

If you and your partner have had sex before is that consent?

If you and your spouse are married/engaged is that consent?

If your partner doesn’t want to engage in sexual activity but you seduce/talk/negotiate/guilt/bully them into having sex is that consent?

If they have had sex with every other person on the planet before you, is  that consent?

Enough examples, you get the point. Rape and sexual assault are such a tricky issue to navigate. There is right and wrong and no means no, but what does a yes look like?

To what extent is consent given even during  a sexual act? If you consent do you consent to EVERYTHING?

These are questions I hope most of us are asking. I started asking these questions while I was in high school with my friends and we never got the answers and mind you I still don’t have them.

Most of you reading this might think you have the answers but let me ask you some questions. Should consent be given every single time? Before every kiss and everything that comes after? Before each sexual act should there be a conversation about what the consent covers? Maybe a contract even?

We live in a world where we have not seen the level of consent needed shown back to us. How could we, when in most cultures parents do not even talk to their kids about sex. When they do they talk about the reproduction aspect of it and nothing else. Sex is still a taboo even among friends and definitely not with polite company.

All my questions are purposefully gender neutral. While I acknowledge that women are more affected by sexual abuse and violence they are also not absolved of the ability to be perpetrators. Consent is a two-way street and should always be respected and treated as such.

Featured image | GGAADD | flickr 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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