The sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein have since started a necessary dialogue about sexual violence and harassment. Now, after the success of this week’s viral #MeToo campaign — in which people publicly shared stories of being harassed or assaulted — #WhatConsentMeansToMe is trending on Twitter and is continuing the much-needed conversation surrounding sexual assault, harassment, rape, and abuse.
Consent is often brought into the sexual assault conversation when victims decide to come forward. Although the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) defines sexual consent as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity,” unfortunately, the definition is not always understood. This is why Twitter users have started educating each other about consent with the hashtag #WhatConsentMeansToMe.
The point many are trying to get across is that consent contains a gray area. It’s not always just “yes” and “no.” If a person does not give an answer, you do not have consent. And if a person says yes but then says no, you no longer have consent.
It’s all about listening to and conversing with the other person. Communication, both verbally and physically, is key for consent.
We also must understand that consent has nothing to do with what someone is wearing or how they are acting.
Practicing consent in sexual relationships really just boils down to having respect for another human being. Plain and simple.
It’s time that we all get on the same page about what consent means. No means no.