Consent. "No" means "no."
Before you cross anyone's personal boundary, you must SEEK CONSENT. If consent is not given, your only legal and moral option is to respect it and
- Avoid crossing the boundary that was set.
- Accept the boundary with respect and avoid shaming, blaming, anger, or any physical repercussions.
- articulated verbally
- each individual's prerogative
- morally sacred
- fluid, and ongoing (changes of mind are respected and require no reason at all)
- based on self-confidence & awareness
- freely given (not based on fear or threat)
- about communication
Consent is NEVER:
- an absence of the word "no"
- implied or assumed
Consent is IMPOSSIBLE from the following groups:
- someone who is intoxicated or asleep
- someone below you in an unequal power dynamic (your student, your employee, etc.)
- someone who is under the legal age of consent in your state
Asserting personal boundaries requires courage and confidence. For this reason, have discussions with trusted friends about ways to communicate consent. You may ask close friends what their boundaries are, for example, and discuss his or her reasoning, to help you clarify your own boundaries.
When in doubt, check in: "Can I hold your hand?" "I want to kiss you."
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