Consent: More Than Just a Buzzword
Carole Chee, Prevention Intern 

In an era marked by heightened awareness of sexual misconduct and abuse, the term “consent” has taken center stage in discussions around power dynamics, accountability, and justice. Increased scrutiny, however, brings increased resistance; usage of the term has been met with heavy backlash, with some viewing consent as an infringement on personal freedom by an overly intrusive state. Understanding and practicing consent has become harder as societal tensions grow. What does the term actually mean, how has it become a buzzword, and how can we recognize its presence in our everyday lives?  

Like most words, “consent” can mean slightly different things depending on the context. You’ve most likely heard it used in the context of sexual encounters along with the phrase, “no means no.” This is a vital point to understand, but it’s also important to know that consent is about individual autonomy in all situations. At its core, “consent is about communication” (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Organizations like the OneLove Foundation provide resources for people of all ages to learn the central role consent plays in forming healthy relationships and developing strong respect for boundaries. 

Further Resources 

To learn more about how to define consent, identify specific examples of consensual and nonconsensual behaviors, and discuss consent with everybody in age-appropriate ways, join Resilience’s upcoming webinar for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, from 10am-12pm, join Resilience staff members Beth Curley and Maddie Lambert for Conversations Around Consent.  

This webinar will aim to break down barriers by providing a basic definition and understanding of the elements involved, as well as providing tangible ways to engage in discussion with various audiences about consent. Our goal is to invite and equip all viewers to have open dialogue about consent with their sphere of influence. For more details and to register for the webinar, use this link!