A lawyer recently said that New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose, who is accused in a civil lawsuit of raping a woman, doesn’t understand the meaning of consent. Do most people know what sexual consent is?
A study published last year by Planned Parenthood revealed some people, especially men, don't understand the meaning of consent. The study also said most people don't learn about sexual consent in middle school or high school, and most parents don't discuss it with their teens.
Jody Allard, a victim of rape and sexual abuse, wrote a parenting column in The Washington Post about her heart-wrenching conversations about sexual consent with her teenage boys.
While she was talking about the Stanford sexual assault case involving Brock Turner, one of her son’s said, "'No one is going to ask a girl before having sex with her,' because it’s awkward." He also said, "You can tell whether a girl is consenting without having to ask her."
The mother said: “My sons are part of the problem.”
Consent is “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity,” as defined by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
Consent should happen before every sexual activity. “Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future,” RAINN states.
Not asking for consent is part of the issue; interpreting the answer is another.
Last year, a British police department worked with an animation team to clarify sexual consent by comparing it using a cup of tea. The video went viral – even J.K. Rowling shared it.
The video explains that even if people say they want “tea,” they still can change their mind. It also talks about not forcing someone to drink “tea” if they are unconscious.
"Maybe they were conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said 'yes.' But in the time it took you to boil the kettle, brew the tea and add the milk, they are now unconscious. … Don’t make them drink the tea. … Unconscious people don’t want tea.”