Let’s Talk About Consent
Consent is about saying “yes” and about respecting and accepting a person’s right to say “no”. Consent is required at any stage of being intimate with someone – asking for a dance, a date, to make out – and at any point in a relationship, whether you’ve just met or you’ve been going steady since the dawn of time.
Affirmative consent is when the verbal and physical cues a person is giving you show that they are comfortable, consenting and keen to continue. It’s all about the proactive asking and giving of consent between people. A “no” is still a ‘no’, but the absence of an enthusiastic and ongoing “yes” is a ‘no’ as well.
Every person has the right to choose to have sex the way they want, and to make that choice freely every time without feeling pressured due to their circumstances or out of fear of repercussions. Saying “yes” to a kiss or allowing your partner to touch you, caress you, take your top off etc. does not imply a yes to everything.
The most basic thing to remember is that consent is voluntary, enthusiastic and continuous.
If someone does something to you that you don’t want, for example, coercing you into sex when you’ve said – or were unable to say – no, then that’s non-consensual sex, and sex without consent is considered indecent assault or rape under Queensland law.
But what does ‘without consent’ really mean? Being bullied, tricked or intimidated with words or violence into having sex or physical contact is coercive control and that’s non-consensual; so is having sex with someone who cannot clearly and freely give consent. This category includes minors (under the age of 17), people who are intoxicated, passed out or asleep, as well as those with a mental impairment that may inhibit them from being fully aware of what they are agreeing to.