What’s the deal with Consent??

What’s the deal with Consent??

Welcome to THE SHIFT!!  Dragonfly Centre’s Blog!!  (2 min read)

With everything that has happened in the last few years, #MeToo, #IBelieveYou, Weinstein, Epstein, Cosby, Spacey (the list can go on and on), we’ve heard a lot about “consent”.  But what is consent?  When do you need it?  Why is it so important?  How do I teach my children about it?

Asking for and giving consent is something we do every day without even realizing it.  It is about respecting our own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others.  “Would you like a coffee?” “Would you like sugar in it?” “Can I sit here?” “Would you like to watch a movie?” “Do you want chicken for supper?” “Can I borrow your shirt?”  Whatever the question is, there are, in essence, three things happening:

  1. We are asking for someone’s opinion and permission to do something with/for/to them.
  2. We are accepting the person’s response and are not offended by the answer.
  3. We are asking for consent.

This kind of consent is natural, so natural in fact that we think nothing of it.  It is just part of being a nice person.  But just think for a moment how you would feel if others didn’t ask those questions…

Imagine sitting at your desk working and suddenly someone puts a cup of coffee with cream on your desk.  “Here you go” the person says and walks away.  Someone else walks by and takes your pen.  They look at you, smile, and say “Thanks” as they walk away.  Little things really, but how would you feel?

Regardless of whether you wanted coffee with cream or not, or if you had a holder full of pens or not, the other person didn’t ask.  You have the right to decide if you want coffee with cream or not, or even if you want coffee at all.  You have the right to decide if someone can take your pen.  You didn’t give consent to either one.

Now imagine sitting at your desk and someone asks you if you would like coffee with cream.  “I would love a cup of coffee, but I’m allergic to cream.  Thanks!”  “Sounds good.  I’ll go grab the coffee for you.”  Someone else walks by and asks if they can use your pen.  “Sorry, no.  That one is my favorite pen.”  “No worries, I’ll see if they have more in the storage room.” the person responds.  Now how would you feel?  You gave your consent for coffee but didn’t want cream.  You didn’t give consent at all about your pen.  No one was offended, hurt, or frustrated.

I have a bit of a challenge for you… over the next few days just pay attention to how many times in a day we ask for, or give consent.  Listen to others- When do they ask for consent?  How do you or others react when consent is given?  What if consent is denied?  Just watch for the next few days, you’d be surprised how casual and often asking for and giving (or denying) consent is.

Now let’s talk about sexual consent…  Is it different than “regular” consent?  Should it be different?  Why is sexual consent such a big deal? What is sexual consent anyway???  Take time to think about it!  Email me with your thoughts and ideas! sandi@thedragonflycentre.com

Our next blog will talk specifically about Sexual Consent.  Until then, if you need immediate support with anything regarding sexual violence, please call Dragonfly Centre 780-812-3174 or use our online chat support on our website.

Until next time… Let’s Keep Making the Shift!!

Sandi