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What Is Consent?

Recently a basketball player got accused of raping a woman. His lawyer asked him if he knew what consent was and he replied no, he didn't. That was eye opening. How many men don't understand what consent is?

It seems that consent is not something that is currently covered in sex ed classes, nor is it covered at home during that awkward talk with parents. So how are boys and men supposed to know what consent is?

There are lots of people out there who don't know they are rapists. They think that rape is violent. It is forced and includes bruising. Both men and women believe this. Men coerce women into having sex or intercourse and they don't view it as rape because they didn't get violent and they didn't cause any bruising. When a man pursues a woman relentlessly and she finally gives in, he walks away triumphant that he succeeded in getting sex from her. He doesn't realize that that coercion makes him a rapist.

Men are confused about consent because they think that as long as a girl doesn't say no they can have sex with her. This means if she is passed out drunk, she didn't say no so it is okay to have sex with her. If she's sleeping, she didn't say no, so it's okay to have sex with her. If she is tied up and gagged, she didn't say no so it's okay to have sex with her.

Men don't know that consent actually means that a woman has to say yes to sex, not the fact that she didn't say no. This is what needs to be taught in school to both girls and boys. A girl has to say yes to make sex consensual. The absence of a no does not equal yes. Only a yes means yes. Any time a boy or man doesn't hear a yes, it's rape. Simple.


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