Are you asking for it?

Natasha Harvey If you are at the Yukon music festivals this summer and you come across some friendly volunteers handing out buttons and condoms, stop and talk to them. Those volunteers are part of a consent crew whose role is to get people reflecting on

Natasha Harvey

If you are at the Yukon music festivals this summer and you come across some friendly volunteers handing out buttons and condoms, stop and talk to them. Those volunteers are part of a consent crew whose role is to get people reflecting on and talking about consent.

The consent campaign aims to reduce the incidence of sexualized assaults by getting people to consistently ask for consent before engaging in any sexual activity.

For many people, the idea of asking for consent appears awkward and unusual. The consent crew challenges the belief that if you stop to ask if it is OK to kiss someone that it will somehow ruin the mood. Instead, we propose that asking for consent can be fun and sexy, but most importantly, it shows you respect your partner and that you don’t want to do something that would upset them or leave them feeling violated.

In most sexual interactions we rely on body language and non-verbal cues to determine whether or not to make a move. Although there is nothing wrong with this form of communication, body language can often be misinterpreted or misunderstood. For example, flirting might mean that he or she likes the attention, but isn’t interested in having sex. Or it could also be how that person interacts and they aren’t aware that their friendliness is being mistaken for an invitation to sex.

The consent crew tries to get people to reflect on some of the more grey areas of consent. Through games and scenarios, they raise questions such as: when two people have been drinking, whose responsibility is it to get consent? And just how drunk does someone have to be before they are no longer able to give consent?

We’ve all seen situations, for example, where a guy buys a woman drinks at the bar then leaves with her at the end of the night. It is such a common scene that most people probably wouldn’t think twice about it. If the people involved were strangers, someone might reason that maybe they were a couple; maybe she knew the guy; or maybe she wanted to leave with him. But what if the woman was your friend, would you react differently? Or what if the man was your friend? Is it still called “cock-blocking” if you intervene to stop someone from potentially committing rape?

The scenarios used in the consent campaign try to address assumptions that women “owe” men sex or that men have the “right” to women’s bodies. They equally aim to challenge attitudes that blame victims for the way they dress, how much they flirt, how much they’ve had to drink or their previous sexual history.

The slogan of the campaign “Are you asking for it?” makes the dual claim that no one ever asks to be raped and it is the responsibility of the person seeking sexual interaction to ask for consent.

Practising consent means communicating clearly with your partner and respecting both your and their boundaries and right to say no. Consent is about more than just “not raping someone” – it involves creating healthy and positive relationships that are built on open communication, honesty and respect. Asking and getting to know what your partner is into and what they like shows you respect and care about that person but can also be fun and exciting.

So, next time, make sure you ask for it and get consent.

Natasha Harvey the project

co-ordinator for Les EssentiElles.

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read