Myths around consent

Myth: If you do not say anything, that means you want it.

Reality: No means no, but silence also means no. Passivity does not equal consent. Many times people do not feel like they can say no due to power imbalances. People can also become unresponsive or not know what to say when they are in uncomfortable or frightening situations.

Myth: Consent is generally not something you can communicate because of the nature of sexual interaction.

Reality: If both parties are confident about engaging in sexual activity, they can communicate their consent to each other. Consent can be spoken, but it can also be expressed in action. If in doubt, ask. It will not 'kill the mood'.

Myth: Agreeing to do something sexual means you have agreed to do everything else as well.

Reality: Consent to do one thing does not automatically imply you want things to go further. Sometimes you might just want things to stop at a kiss.

Myth: If you wear revealing clothing then you are asking for it.

Reality: Nobody wants to be assaulted. You might be dressing sexily because you like to look attractive or because you want to attract someone's attention, but none of this means you want to experience assault. If someone chooses to assault, the consequences are their responsibility and their fault. It is not the fault of the person who is assaulted.

Myth: Once a man is sexually aroused, he cannot help himself. He has to have sex.

Reality: This myth infantilises men. Men and anyone else, can choose not to commit crimes or disrespect people, no matter how strong their sexual desire is. Sexual encounters fundamentally rely on communication, not on the power dynamic created by the myth that men cannot control their desire.

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