permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
give permission for something to happen.
I recently attended a series of classes on consent and sexual harassment. These classes were made up of discussions on what consent is and its importance in a sexual or non-sexual relationship.These sessions were made mandatory for students and while discussion and debate were allowed, there was a clear marker that the concept of consent was non-negotiable. It also included the discourse on sexual harassment and laws on sexual misconduct and harassment.
Campuses are sadly, a place where a huge number of assault occurs, ranging from date rape to lecturers asking for sex in exchange for good grades. These high rates need to be addressed to prevent this from becoming the norm. The first step to addressing sexual harassment is educating and talking about it through forums such as these.
Recently on twitter, many Kenyan women mustered the strength to expose those who had harassed and assaulted them. In addition to this, women from around the globe have been exposing harassers and sharing their painful assault stories under the hashtag #MeToo.
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In light of this, I realized how important it is to have these sessions on Kenyan campuses. So I compiled some fundamentals of consent that should be taught along with sex education on campuses.
Here are some of the realizations made about the concept of consent:
1.To give consent to sexual activities is to give a clear verbal yes to participate in the aforementioned activities. Consent is questionable when a person is unconscious, drunk, high, sleeping or incapacitated.
While I would like to acknowledge that men are sexually harassed, women and girls make up the larger portion of victims. Even then, many women do not know about consent and some have even been assaulted without them knowing what happened to them is assault. It is common to hear of women only realizing that they were assaulted years after the incidents occur. Conversations on consent are therefore vital as it even equips people with knowledge on how to handle sexual assault and harassment if it happened to them.
2.Consent to a sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time and this should be respected.
3.Sometimes people do not know about consent.
Some people have never even heard of the term. I have heard of cases where people accused of sexual harassment do not know that their actions amounted to harassment. Society has also conditioned us to see actions like catcalling and groping as harmless hence we tend to be blind to the dangers of these actions. Education on consent, as well as sex education, should be made mandatory to ensure that people know boundaries that they should not cross.
4.People feign ignorance to get out of facing consequences for sexual harassment.
When we have mandatory consent education on campus, there is no room for people using excuses to get out of facing consequences.