Badassery Magazine January 2018 Issue 20 - Page 13

Note: The following piece of lit- erary detritus concerns a subject that is very close to my heart. Indeed, it's a matter that a great many people are now think- ing and talking about - I am of course referring to the idea of "consent." I admit, I've hesitat- ed writing these words, mainly because I feared I had nothing intelligent to add. I'm still not sure that I do. I leave it to you, my dearest reader, to decide for yourself. D ear reader, let me be- gin this missive with a confession of sorts: I've never been able to understand the fuss around sexual consent. What I mean is, I understand the issue, I simply don't understand the debate around it. The idea of consent, as I understand, follows thusly: "Consent is an agreement made between people before they en- gage in any kind of sexual activ- ity. Both people have to say 'yes' clearly and without pressure. Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault or rape. Consent MUST be given willingly from both parties." The reason I bring up this topic is, of course, obvious: The seem- ingly continuous stream of sexual assault allegations being leveled at many famous and powerful people. What began as a trickle has turned into a flood, as more and more victims step forward. It's both disheartening to see just how systemic the issue is, but also gratifying to see the perva- sive culture of "victim blaming" being chipped away. It would appear that those who would use their positions and celebrity to abuse and assault others are see- ing their precious house of cards collapse around them. Digression alert: When I wrote the last sentence, it did not im- mediately strike me how apro- pos the phrase "house of cards" really was. The muse does indeed work in mysterious ways. End of digression alert. I will admit that to me, consent seems like a perfectly straight- forward concept, and frankly, not one open to interpretation. Despite this, I've heard people - quite seriously - make claims that the involvement of drugs or alcohol, and even certain types of body language, can somehow "represent" consent. The first time I heard this, I honestly thought it was a joke. If only it were. Allow me, if you would be so kind dear reader, to put forward my own thought on how con- sent (between two adults) should work. It's quite simple, and it is directed mostly toward the men, who frankly seem to be the ones having the most difficulty under- standing what consent is. When you are in a situation with a another person, whether or not it may lead to an intimate or sex- ual encounter, remember this: YOU DO NOT HAVE CON- SENT BY DEFAULT. Consent is NOT owed to you. Consent is NOT a birthright, or a prize of conquest. Consent is NOT to be taken, assumed or implied. Consent is NOT a factor of your rank, age, gender or perceived position on the social totem pole. Consent is NOT a perk of lead- ership, nor can it be used as a bargaining ѽ(