Although 96% of Canadians believe all sexual activity should be consensual, only 28% understand what it means to give or get consent (Canadian Women Foundation, 2018). This was a decrease from 2015 where 33% said they understood consent. That means that as Canadian’s we are declining in our knowledge about consent. We have been spreading awareness surrounding consent with the acronym FRIES. Consent should be:
Freely Given – There needs to be true genuine choice for both parties. There can be no pressure, threats, manipulation, harassment, or guilt. Both parties need to be sober and in the correct state of mind.
Revocable – Either party can take back their consent at any time. It doesn’t matter if they promised their consent, already gave their consent, or have given consent multiple times before. Everyone has the right to change their mind
Informed – Informed consent requires 3 criteria: Disclosure of all information (See Specific) Be of competent sound, mind and body Voluntary Nature (See Freely Given)
Enthusiastic – Consent needs to be mutually enthusiastic and/or engaged. Meaning it’s more than just voluntary – both parties are excited about the agreement, and they aren’t just doing it because they think that they are expected to or required to do so.
Specific – When having conversations about consent both parties have to agree on specifically what they consent to or against. This includes aspect of what people are involved, the time of the involvement, any details that they agree to.
Now that you have a better understanding of consent, take a moment and complete a consent quiz.
Test Your Knowledge!
1. True or False: Consent and Permission mean the same thing?
2. What is consent?
3. Someone says, “I want to do that, but not right now” Are they giving their consent?
4. True or False: You have to say yes to something because someone else wants you to.
5. Is consent . . .
6. Can a person change their mind (or withdraw consent) at any time before or during (activity).
7. You ask someone to go out to dinner. They are avoiding eye contact with you and looking somewhere else. Do they agree to go for dinner?
8. If a person says nothing, has consent been given?
9. A friend calls and asks you to get together. They say they want to go see a scary movie. You don’t like scary movies. They say “come-on, PLEASE! I really want to go!! PLEASSEEEE. COME-ON, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. JUST COME WITH ME! You say yes, even though you don’t want to.
10. True or False: It can be hard to say no to people in your life who have power or authority over you like a teacher, boss, or supervisor.
1. False: Permission requires the approval of one person. Where consent requires everyone involved to agree.
2. Consent is when all people involved agree to something.
3. Consent has not been given: This person is saying they do not want to do that.
4. False: You never have to say yes to something you do not want to do.
5. Both: Consent can be verbal, like words or phrases. But consent can also be non-verbal like body language, eye contact, and facial expressions.
6. Yes: Consent is revocable, meaning that it can be taken back or withdrawn at any time.
7. No: This person is showing non-verbal cues like their body language to show that they do not want to go for dinner.
8. No: If a person says nothing than they have not given consent.
9. No: Consent needs to be freely given, meaning a person cannot be pressured, harassed, or guilted.
10. True: Sometimes we may feel pressured to say yes to someone who has power or authority over us like a boss or supervisor. Even though it’s hard to say no, feeling obligated is not giving consent.