What Is Consent? Rape And Learning That No Means No

what is consent, what is sexual consent, sexual consent, rape, rape in relationships, what is rape,

Sexual consent means to give permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something in a sexual situation. Consent lets someone know that you are willing and wanting to have sex with them. Any sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault. All people involved must freely and enthusiastically agree to sex for it to be consensual.

Silence is not consent. 
It isn't consent if you make a person afraid to say no.
Consenting to one act is not consent to all acts.
If you have to convince and pressure someone, it isn't consent.
If you presumed someone wanted it, it isn't consent.
Being friendly and flirting is not consent.
Not saying 'No' is not consent. 
Being in a relationship is not consent.
Clothing choices are not consent.
Being in a bedroom doesn't make it consent.
Kissing is not an invitation or consent.

There is a very thin line between what is deemed as rape and consent in a court of law today. A lot of countries are unable to prosecute rapists in todays society due to lack of evidence and strong defence teams. If a rape victim puts their trust in the police and legal system to bring sexual abusers to justice and those systems continuously fail to do so, then all we can do as the public is try to educate people further on what is classed as rape and what is classed as consent.

What Is Consent:
  • To consent to sex is to freely make a choice without pressure, manipulation or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Consenting to something is enthusiastically agreeing to do something you want to do and not what you feel you're expected to do.
  • Consent is voluntary, non-coerced, continual and verbal.
  • Asking someone 'Is this OK?' and them responding clearly and freely with 'Yes' is consent.

What Is Rape:
  • If a person intentionally engages in a sexual act with someone without their consent, it is rape or sexual assault. 
  • A victim doesn't need to have screamed, fought back or repeatedly said no for it to count as rape.
  • Nonconsensual or forced penetration by a body part or object is classed as rape.
  • If a person says 'No' after you've started having sex but you continue to do so, it is rape.

Many rape victims feel unable to speak, move, scream or fight back during the assault due to feeling like they don't have a choice and fear of what would happen if they did.

Rape is never the fault of the victim. 1/5 of women have been sexually assaulted from the age of 16. 4% men have been victims of sexual assault. We often think of rapists and sexual attackers as a strange lurking in a dark alley, however it is often someone the victim knows. Statistics show that people who commit acts of sexual assault and rape are:

Family Member 29%
Current or Ex Partner 29%
Acquaintance 18%
Stranger 7%
Friend 6%
Step-parent 5%
Other 4%
Gang 2%

What Is Rape Culture?

Rape culture is a society whose social attitudes normalise or trivialise sexual assault or abuse. Rape culture is something we are constantly experiencing and living with today. Much of society blames rape victims and sexual assault victims, ignores rape and jokes about it. Rape culture includes situations when:

  • Victims are blamed for destroying their rapists careers if they speak out and go to court. 
  • Victims are called liars and accused of regretting their actions. 
  • Many people trivialise rape culture by saying things like, 'Boys will be boys,' and 'It's just lad banter.' 
  • Sexually explicit jokes and making light of rape and sexual assault is a huge part of rape culture. 
  • Tolerating such behaviour is contributing to rape culture. 
  • Blaming a victim due to the way they dressed or looked or acted is rape culture.

People should not have to learn about how to not be raped, rapists should be taught to not rape. Speak up if you see anyone participating in rape culture. Be clear on the line between consensual and non-consensual sex. Support and seek help for anyone who you think or know has been raped or sexually assaulted.

The legal system may not always bring abusers to justice, but we can shout louder to bring awareness to the people who don't understand that no means no.

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Statistics and information in this post provided by planned parenthood.

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