If you ask a person what is consent, they often think of it in the context of sexual activity. That response is correct, but also incomplete. In fact, consent applies to a much broader range of behaviors. At its core, consent is about respecting space and personal boundaries.
Some examples of everyday consent include, asking if it is okay before touching a person's hair (particularly a person of color's hair), giving a shoulder massage, dancing with someone, removing your mask, or deciding what to put on the pizza you plan to share.
In February of 2019, SHARE staff provided an interactive experience for students and staff to engage in a consent exercise with LEGOs. Watch this video to see examples of non-sexual consent in the Frist Student Center.
Explore other ways to set and respect personal boundaries beyond sexual consent, as shown in this Non-sexual Consent video from The Swaddle, these examples from Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Joaquín Selva, and this guidance from PsychCentral.
The more we understand consent to be a common behavior for daily living, the more likely we are to practice it and engage in consensual behavior when it matters most, including moments of sexual intimacy.
While the Consent Tea video’s simplicity and use of humor can get the conversation started about a sensitive subject, it is important to expand the conversation to include the role power dynamics play. Check out this video from Oberlin College for some examples of how power differentials can influence consent: Let’s Make Consent A Conversation: Power Dynamics video
Now that you have that foundation, let’s unpack this concept together.
Step 1: Start with understanding more about consent.
Step 2: Learn how easy it is to seek out consent and make it part of your everyday actions.
Step 3: Move forward confidently by making sure you have consent.
Keep repeating steps 2 and 3 to ensure you have respectful interactions with others.