Consent

Unsolicited, unsanctioned hugs. Handshakes that last too long, sometimes even attempts to interlace fingers. A friendly pat on the shoulder, and the hand accidentally brushes your thigh.

Male colleagues whisper in your ears, sit too close, bump their legs against yours. Because if you are single, and are at a party and laughing and having a drink, then you must also be easy. If you do it when you are 30, it must be because you want variety in life and refuse to limit yourself to one sexual partner.

‘Friends’ reach out and run their hand down your hair, because why would you have a problem with them doing it when you let someone else do it.

Bosses ask if it is tough with your husband being out of town, bump chairs suggestively. Reach for your face to caress, in a public lift, just because you are pregnant and glowing and “Oh! Pregnancy suits you” and they are old enough to be your father.

Male colleagues whisper in your ears, sit too close, bump their legs against yours. Because if you are single, and are at a party and laughing and having a drink, then you must also be easy. If you do it when you are 30, it must be because you want variety in life and refuse to limit yourself to one sexual partner.

The drink in my hand is not an invitation. My laughter is not permission.  My marital status, my choices about my body, are MY choices. My reasons, whatever they may be, do not change the fact that you need my permission to touch me.

Friends who reach out and run their hand down your hair, because why would you have a problem with that when you let someone else do it.

The rights I give someone are the rights I give THEM. They are not rights I give the whole world. They are not rights I give you.

Bosses ask if it is tough with your husband being out of town, bump chairs suggestively. Reach for your face to caress, in a public lift, just because you are pregnant and glowing and “Oh! Pregnancy suits you” and they are old enough to be your father.

You might be old enough to be my father, you might even have the most fatherly feelings towards me, but that doesn’t give you the right to touch me, not even my fingertips. Not without my consent. And unless I expressly say so, you do not have my consent. Pregnancy does not change the rules.

 

 Drunk, at a party, some guy leans in for a peck on the cheek, because he is happy and you have been talking and laughing together.

NO.

Your boss.

NO.

Your friend.

NO.

Just some guy. Who doesn’t think your consent matters.

Can you make it matter?

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