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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Articles on Consent?

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Author Topic: Articles on Consent?
EverTheWild
Neophyte
Member # 20932

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Hi everyone.

I'm in a bit of a situation, trying to get a little revenge/re-education for a friend. Let me explain:

My girl friend was hanging out with a boy friend. She went to his apartment to see his new kitten. They hung out for a while, played with the kitten, and tickled each other a little. Then she nodded off on his couch while they were both playing with kitten. When she woke up a little later, his hands were on her chest underneath her shirt.

He claims he thought she was awake because she was moving a little.

We can't understand how he could have mistaken sleeping movements for "yes please feel me up" movements.

I don't think it would be possible to press charges even if the violated girl wanted to (she doesn't. he apologized and she feels like, although she wants something more to be done about it, she can't blatantly and maliciously not accept his apology. that's just the type of personality she has) - there was no genital contact, and I know in my home state genital contact is required to press charges.

It wasn't a violent assault, so violent assault doesn't seem a fitting solution.

We decided that education is really the best way to deal with the situation - we want to shame him privately by letting him know what he really did. Consent is more than just "she didn't say no."

What are some good articles to address this situation? We want to email him reading material.

Thank you!

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"only love freely given should keep me for her, not the constriction of a marriage tie" -Abelard and Heloise

Posts: 36 | From: St. Louis, MO, USA | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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EverTheWild, I have to run out for a while, but I'll come back to this later.

But the bare basics really are very simple: consent isn't a lack of no. Consent is an enthusiastic, freely chosen, gladly-given yes.

Usually with folks like this? They're simply not being truthful when they talk about what they interpreted as consent: rather, they know full well it wasn't given, were hoping they'd get away with it, and then just try to find a way to justify their actions. He didn't mistake anything for anything: he's lying.

FYI, in a case like this, pressing charges most often causes more grief for the victim than it does justice: he likely wouldn't get charged with anything, and she'd likely wind up the one put through hell. It's unfortunate, but so.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Beppie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 94

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I'd just like to add, that if your friend is sceptical of this fellow's apology, that is not "malicious"-- as you say yourself, and as Heather has reiterated, it is highly unlikely that he didn't realise your friend was sleeping, and even if he didn't, he still did not obtain consent for what he did.

Unfortunately, diminishing the importance of a woman's consent is widespread in our society-- we are constantly bombarded with subtle messages that suggest that men pressing advances against a woman's wishes (or without bothering to learn what her wishes are) is romantic, sexy, and something that he is entitled to do (because there are plenty of fictional texts where the woman ends up changing her "no" to a "yes")-- in reality though, this is sexual harrassment and/or assault. As a result of this, many men think the issue of consent is easy to discard, and many women also think that their own consent is less important, making it harder to stick up for themselves when they find themselves in a situation they're uncomfortable with.

I think your idea of trying to raise awareness is a good one. I found this site, Consent and Sex, which might be helpful to you. You could highlight the following:
quote:

Consent is when one person agrees to or gives permission to another person to do something. It means agreeing to an action based on your knowledge of what that action involves, its likely consequences and having the option of saying no.

You could point out that as your friend was asleep, she could not possibly have given this consent-- even if he really believed she was awake (which I doubt), she could not have AGREED to what he did. You need to point out that it's HIS responsibility, if he wants to initiate sexual activity, to make sure that his partner is consenting, and if he doesn't make sure that he has consent, then he's violating the personal integrity of another.

There are also broader things you can do to raise awareness about consent, not just with this fellow, but with society in general. You could look at creating pamphlets that describe what consent means (and what it does NOT mean), and distributing them to your peers (you might have to get permission to do this in privately owned places, but I'm sure you'd be able to find at least some willing to help out). You could include information on how to be assertive in refusing to consent, but more importantly of course, you could focus on making sure proper, freely given consent is obtained.

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EverTheWild
Neophyte
Member # 20932

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Thank you for the website. I definitely want him to realize it IS his responsiblity. From hearing details more than I wrote here, he seems to be making excuses every which way and trying to defer blame (if not blame her directly!).

An interesting side note is that this week is actually Sexual Assault Awareness week on our university campus. My friend noted that this was making her uncomfortable, but she hopes it is making him even more uncomfortable. There is no literature on the topics you suggested being distributed, but I think some student groups have some that they distribute at other times. I will talk with One In Four in particular, an all-male group that speaks out against things like this.

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selina
Activist
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its difficult to explain how you did not give the consent. only if someone was there at the time, would they be able to judge
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Beppie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 94

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Selina, your English seems a little broken, so it's hard to make you what you're saying here-- but to make it clear, EverTheWild is talking about a situation in which a person was molested while sleeping, with NO attempt made to gain consent. Consent was not given, and this was made clear by a person who WAS there at the time.

EverTheWild is talking about changing the perception that consent is not necessary-- we don't need to have been in the room at the time that the abuse took place in order to help her find resources aimed at improving peoples' cultural understanding of consent.

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selina
Activist
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i'm just saying that becuase people can't judge accuractly if she didn't give consent, they might not believe her. that was my point
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Beppie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 94

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Selina, the point is that we're talking about raising awareness with one of the people involved, and he WAS there, and DOES know what happened. In terms of raising awareness more generally, EverTheWild's friend would not have to talk about her own personal experience.

However, simply saying that people should not talk about their experiences because they can't prove what happened perpetuates the idea that victims of assault should suffer in silence without seeking support or working to enact change.

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