A Word About Consent
We just don’t talk enough about consent. That’s not just SEA-PAH, that’s everyone. The lack of a discussion makes it harder to know what consent is, when you should get it, and who should talk about it. Recently we’ve heard of problems at some of our events so it’s time for us to discuss this as a group.
According to the non-profit group Loveisrespect.org (http://www.loveisrespect.org/healthy-relationships/what-consent/) consent requires communication. This means understanding what someone else wants, what they do not want, and if they want things to move at a different pace. Just because someone is in sexy attire or gear (e.g. leather, rubber, hoods, fursuits, collars, leashes, harnesses, padding) that does not mean you can assume they have consented to anything. Gear and sexy clothes do not equal consent. This is true at moshes, socials, competitions, conventions, or anything else.
So how do you get consent? You talk to someone. Find out if it’s ok to do certain things. Yes, this even includes hugs and rubbing and pets. Just because it’s “not sexual” that doesn’t mean you can just do it. Everyone has their own boundaries. Think about collars in our community. Some of you wear them as a sign of ownership. In those cases, other people should not be grabbing or yanking your collar without permission. They’ll learn that if they communicate with you in advance. The same is true if you see someone in gear and you just grab it without consent. You don’t know the meaning of that gear or why they wear it. You also don’t know if someone wants a hug or pets without communicating. Ask if it’s ok to touch or grab or yank. Ask if it’s ok to grab somebody’s butt or crotch or even their belly. It takes just a little extra time but it’s worth doing. When you’ve had this conversation you might end up with a deeper relationship with that person. If you ask someone and they say no, that means no. If you haven’t asked and they haven’t said no, that doesn’t mean yes. Find out first before assuming.
At some point a lot of us have worn something sexy to a bar or event. We need to all work together and talk to each other to make sure everyone is comfortable in those situations. If we don’t, people may stop attending or dressing up and that would be sad. Worst of all, someone may be touched in a way they are not comfortable with and that is not acceptable.
We suggest the following things:
- Have the conversation today with partners you do things with, if you haven’t already. Know their limits.
- Establish safewords.
- Be aware of on-going consent by having these conversations more frequently when you’re out and having fun.
- Know the limits of those around you.
- Watch out for others and be aware that everyone is different.
TLDR: Think of tea when you think of consent. Yes, tea. To learn more, watch this helpful video from Blue Seat Studios entitled “Tea Consent” found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8. (It has a little naughty language but is otherwise safe for work).
Thanks for reading and woofs and squeaks to everybody.