Badassery Magazine January 2018 Issue 20 - Page 13

Note: The following piece of literary detritus concerns a subject that is very close to my heart. Indeed, it's a matter that a great many people are now thinking and talking about - I am of course referring to the idea of "consent." I admit, I've hesitated 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. Dear reader, let me begin 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 engage in any kind of sexual activity. 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 seemingly 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 pervasive 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 seeing their precious house of cards collapse around them. Digression alert: When I wrote the last sentence, it did not immediately strike me how apropos 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 straightforward 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 consent (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 understanding what consent is. When you are in a situation with a another person, whether or not it may lead to an intimate or sexual 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 leadership, nor can it be used as a bargaining tool. 12 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(