Consent explained

The issues of sexual harassment, assault, and rape have been much in the news recently. It should be obvious that there should clearly be mutual consent. But for many people, the issue of what constitutes consent seems to be a little unclear. This video tries to clarify the issue, using other everyday exchanges that have none of the tension of sexual interactions, to illustrate the point.

As a general rule though, if there is any ambiguity, any doubt whatsoever in your mind as to whether consent has been given, assume that it has not.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    Yeah, but…
    (begin Michael Shermer mode)
    I’m sure some of those people actually wanted to say yes to her, but they are too timid to give in to their desires, so to help them we should assume that any “no” that didn’t include yelling and punching actually means “yes”.
    (end Michael Shermer mode)

  2. Hj Hornbeck says

    Ah, consent. Been there, explained that. What fascinates me is that there’s been a flutter in US legal circles over consent, when one author suggesting sexual assault should not be defined by consent, but by coercion. This isn’t a new concept, either, as it matches what the USA implemented back in the 1960’s, with disastrous consequences.

    Meanwhile, the gold standard has become enthusiastic consent. Even the UN recommends it nowadays:

    Legislation should: […]

    Remove any requirement that sexual assault be committed by force or violence, and any requirement of proof of penetration, and minimize secondary victimization of the complainant/survivor in proceedings by enacting a definition of sexual assault that either:

    * Requires the existence of “unequivocal and voluntary agreement” and requiring proof by the accused of steps taken to ascertain whether the complainant/survivor was consenting; or

    * Requires that the act take place in “coercive circumstances” and includes a broad range of coercive circumstances

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