Let's talk about consent

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Consent is a topic I've wanted to talk about for a while for a few reasons. It's a topic that I personally didn't have the right education around growing up - and is something that needs more awareness and voice around it.

Trigger warning - This post contains the topics of sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment.

It's one of those things that has now received a lot of attention and education on social media as it should, especially for young, impressionable teenagers - and I wish that level of education was around when I was growing up. I wanted to write a post to put my two pence into the situation to share my views and experiences around the topic of consent.

Consent definition

What is consent?

By definition, consent is permission for something to happen by agreement. However, when it comes to consent in a sexual nature, these lines and definitions are often blurred and subjective to allow others to get away with not asking for consent. And that in itself is not only a crime but it's horribly heartbreaking and traumatic for the individual who was taken advantage of.

Consent isn't just asking if you want to have sex with someone, but it's making it clear whether the answer is a distinctive yes or no. Often or not, 'no' or 'stop' is often dismissed or coerced into being a yes so the other person can continue in the sexual act without actually having consent. But sex without consent is rape. It's as simple as that.

When I was growing up, I thought consent meant agreeing to sex and if you had said yes then it's fine and consensual, but that's not always the case. And, if you were in a relationship then it was okay for them to expect sex (which isn't right in any sense.) If you say yes, and then decide you want to stop halfway through and they continue, it's rape. If you say yes but you're too intoxicated to clearly give a distinctive answer, that's rape. If they ask to have sex with you and try and convince you when 'you're not feeling it', that is sexual coercion and a form of sexual assault. None of this is right and legal. Which as hard-hitting as it is, it so important to know.

Why is consent important to talk about?

Spreading awareness about consent is important for many reasons. The sad thing with consent is, once it is fully understood, a lot of people (especially women), come to realise that they have fallen victim to sexual assault and it's a trauma they then have to live with and heal from.

Consent is important to talk about because it helps victims understand that what they experienced is a crime and is wrong in every sense - and helps them come to terms with it's not their fault. After experiencing sexual assault, rape, or harassment, the victim will often feel shameful and blame themselves for what happened. When in reality, they did nothing wrong.  The abuser did and they should be held accountable for their actions, rather than victims taking the wrath for being taking advantage of or hurt. 

Sexual trauma is awful and can mean many consequences, leading to PTSD, distrust in people, and worsen mental health problems - and that's why by bringing awareness to consent, those who have gone through sexual trauma can begin their journey to healing and can get the help they need.

It's also important to talk about consent so people can be aware of what is consensual and what isn't and to further education. Some perpetrators do not realise that what they did was non-consensual (again this is only some because for the most part, they know it's wrong and rapes occur as a form of control and abuse - I don't want to not dispute that fact) and that's why by teaching them, they will understand what they're doing is illegal and wrong.

Teaching needs to begin at a young age before society and rape culture has the opportunity to be learnt and seen as okay - as it's not. Joking about rape is wrong, encouraging your friends to sexually harass someone is wrong and thinking rape victims are 'asking for it' makes my skin crawl. Nobody asks to be raped or sexually assaulted, the only person who should be blamed is the rapist.

What can you do to help?

This is a huge question and not really a simple answer, but the best thing you can do is talk and spread awareness. With anything in life by having those hard-hitting conversations, it gets people to listen. You don't have to be an influencer or someone famous to start change, it can begin in your family and friends circle and go from there.

Often or not, those victim of rape or sexual assault are people around you, whether it's a family member, friend or work colleague and talking about the topic will allow people the opportunity to open up and not feel shame about what they went through. And the same goes with children or teenagers, reinforcing the idea and education around consent will help them as they get older to either speak out or have a better understanding.

It's important for us to talk, educate and help those who have experienced sexual assault. As someone who has their own story, I want to help others out there and that's where starting a conversation can really benefit someone. 

If you're someone who has experienced sexual assault or rape, please know, you're not alone and what happened isn't your fault. If you need additional help, you can phone the Rape Crisis team on 08088029999 or visit their website.

I'm also always here to talk, either DM me on Instagram or Twitter. I'm not a professional but sometimes it's reassuring to have someone to talk to. I know how hard this can be and want to be there for anyone experiencing the same thing. It's going to be okay in the end, I can assure you.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading <3

54 comments

  1. I agree with everything that you said. Consent needs to be talked about and explained to all children at a young age. Consent doesn't have to be just about sex. It can also be about touch like hugging or personal space. If we are all made to be aware that we can set boundaries at any time and that crossing it is wrong, it will translate to a better understanding in the future in all situations.

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, you're so right there xx

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  2. I agree consent and understanding boundaries need to taught as a priority. So many people suffer because of it, the trauma is scary to think about. It's great that you're raising awareness and talking openly, well done!
    Also I would suggest adding a quick trigger warning on this lovely post 🧡

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

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    1. Thank you so much lovely! I've added a trigger warning in at the top of the post (that's terrible proof reading of me for not adding it sooner) - thanks for pointing it out xx

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  3. Well done you for writing and sharing this. Consent is something I wasn't really taught at school, it was kind of skimmed over. It's so so important that it is taught, talked about and shared with kids these days.
    I really hope younger kids and teenagers read this post and understand it all a bit more!

    Rosie

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    1. Thank you so much lovely, I hope it helps a lot of people x

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  4. I couldn't agree more that topics such as this need to be spoken about, I always try to open up these conversations and because of that a few of my close friends (both men and women) opened up to me personally about rape and sexually assault that happened to them. Sometimes that is all it takes, and then they knew that I was there for them. I think it is so important and thank you for sharing this post and opening that conversation online! x

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    1. Thank you lovely! It's so important to have those conversations with people around you and I'm glad it helped them x

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  5. Thank you for writing this important post! It´s something I talked a lot about with male friends in the last months and it´s shocking how too many men still don´t understand it. It makes me angry and frustrated, but I keep explaining to them that even the way how we look at situations is wrong. Instead of saying "X number of women have been raped last year" we should stop labeling women as weak and be more clear about who was in action. It should be: "X number of men raped women"
    Rapism and everything around it isn´t a neutral thing, it has an active attacker, so why do we talk about the topic but leave the actual person who did it out of the news?

    have an awesome day,
    Tiziana
    www.tizianaolbrich.de

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    1. Thank you! Yes, exactly this - you've made a very valid point x

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  6. Oh this is a big topic! I completely agree that we need to be speaking up about this more often, make it not a tabu subject.

    Ana C., www.adreamersland.com
    www.facebook.com/adreamersland
    www.instagram/anaccsa

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  7. Consent and boundaries really needs to be spoke about alot more! It's such a topic that really needs to be normalised. Thank you for sharing some really fab resources in this post x

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  8. Brilliant post and it's so important that more people talk about this. You can never talk about consent enough, really!

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  9. Couldn't agree more with what you said here Della! I think most of us have been brought up without speaking about these topics, but as you said we need to speak about consent and boundaries and teach about them since young and to whomever we have near! Thank you for sharing this x

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  10. This post is brilliant Della, the topic of consent needs to be talked about more often and I am so glad that you have talked about the subject so well and precise x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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  11. You've done an excellent job approaching a sensitive topic. Thank you for raising awareness.

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  12. Amazing post! Thank you so much for speaking about this! I'm glad that there is more education around consent right now but it can still be increased. It makes me so sad that there are people out there who have been sexually assulted and they blame themselves when it's definitely not their fault.

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  13. Thank you for writing this post - it's a super important topic and as you mentioned a lot of times unfortunately consent is implied or coerced. You did a fantastic job at addressing the topic and outlining the importance and awareness about this.

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  14. Such an important topic to continue to talk about! This needs to be addressed in elementary schools for sure and should start at a really young age. Thank you for sharing xx

    Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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  15. This is such an important topic to share and bring awareness too. Thanks so much for all the information you shared here!

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  16. This is such an important topic and I really think it is something that should be taught in schools. If kids are told when they are there, by the time they are adults, they will understand how important consent is.

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  17. It's incredibly depressing how little education there was around consent when we were in school. I'm glad it's becoming more of a spoken about issue now - I think the education will be so helpful for young boys to understand what's appropriate too! xx

    mia // https://beautiful-inspiring-creative-life.com/

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  18. Yes yes yes! We need to teach consent to children and young people- even though it should be obvious that we don't push people to do things they don't want to do, we need to teach how to best adhere to consent and understand it. It's only through learning and teaching that we get rid of terrible things in the world x

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  19. I love the topic, love the fact that you posted about it. Consent needs to taught in schools to every pupil. I’m glad this is a growing topic. Thank you for sharing

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  20. A very important topic to discuss and use your platform to discuss an important topic. Thank you for sharing.
    Lauren

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  21. This is such an important post. I really want to teach my son about this stuff, not just about consent with sex to around how to treat women and other people with respect!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. Thank you! Yes, exactly that. I want to do the same when I have kids x

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  22. I love that you've written about such an important topic. I think that it should be spoken about way more than it is. Consent seems like such an easy thing to get right and it's a shame that people take things as a yes. Thank you for sharing
    Em x

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  23. I'm so glad this topic is coming out and giving the girls confidence and knowledge of their worth and their decisions.

    LackaDaisy

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  24. Consent is such a huge issue and totally needs talking about more! I feel like there is this forgotten rule that just because you said yes once doesn't mean that's a yes for every single time!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

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  25. Yes, let us talk about this! I could not agree more that the lack of awareness and respect around consent is because it is something that is not taught from an early age. While I want to be able to say it is never too late to start learning, I am torn to know that, for many people, the damage has already been done.
    Thank you for sharing a powerful message, help spread awareness, and offer your ear for all those who may need someone to talk to.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! I hope this posts helps a lot of people x

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  26. thanks for discussing what seems like a tough topic! It is so important to talk about consent, and whats right and wrong because then it becomes an innate part of us - rather than something taboo that becomes a he said she said argument. Great post!

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  27. Wow, Della, this was such a powerful post and on a topic that really needs to be spotlit more often. I heard a great comparison about consent recently, compared to a cup of tea. If you're offered a cup of tea, you can say yes or no. If you let it get cold, you can still say yes or no. Same with consent. Great post, thank you! x

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  28. Thank you for sharing, this powerful post, we all need to know what is wrong and when to stand up for ourselfs, that is something I have learnt

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  29. As someone who hopes to create a safe sex positive place in the internet world, I appreciate this post SO so much. In my opinion consent and pleasure go hand in hand. Really any type of relationship can seriously benefit from good communication.

    this is such an important message to share & you laid it out beautifully
    can’t wait to read more of your posts,
    xo Bri C

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