Consent is a fundamental aspect of any sexual encounter, regardless of the circumstances. This week’s Coffee Bar Tuesday discussion was prompted by a distressing incident involving a woman who was sexually assaulted while unconscious, likely due to excessive alcohol consumption. The identity of the perpetrator and their motivations remain unclear. When engaging in sexual activity, communication is the cornerstone of consent and it should be a part of every encounter, irrespective of the specific activity involved. It’s crucial to understand that consenting to one particular activity or on one occasion does not imply consent for other activities or future encounters.
During our discussion, the conversation was guided by three key questions posed by the moderator:
1. Is being drunk a sign that someone is ready to engage in sexual activity?
2. What should you do if someone passes out during a sexual encounter after previously agreeing to it?
3. What would be your response if someone asks you to stop during sex?
The responses to these questions were varied and highlighted the need for greater awareness and protection against sexual abuse. Out of the 22 participants, 8 believed that if someone promises sex, they should follow through, even if they become incapacitated, while 10 believed that if someone passes out after agreeing to sex, you should respect their condition and not proceed. One participant shared that, regardless of the relationship’s nature, no one should be coerced into having sex against their will or when they are not in the mood. Consent is an ongoing process that involves open communication about boundaries and comfort levels.
The discussion also focused into the topic of someone requesting that sexual activity be stopped, which revealed a concerning level of misunderstanding and normalization of rape within our communities. Some participants believed that once sex has started, no one should request it to stop. This assertion was met with strong reactions, with many acknowledging the need for better education on consent and the importance of respecting boundaries.
“Why would someone tell you to stop during sex, this should have happened before the sex started. Also, why is the person not thinking about the person’s feelings. ” A participant shared
The conversation then shifted towards understanding the legal definition of rape. According to the Sexual Offences Act of 2006, rape occurs when someone intentionally and unlawfully penetrates another person’s genital organs without their consent or consent was not given freely but obtained through force, threats, or intimidation. The law prescribes severe penalties for those found guilty of this crime. The moderator emphasized that consent cannot be given by underage, intoxicated, drugged, asleep, or unconscious. Furthermore, consent obtained under pressure, intimidation, or threat is not considered valid consent.
In conclusion, the discussion highlighted the importance of being able to withdraw consent at any point if one feels uncomfortable, and anything beyond that withdrawal should be considered rape or sexual assault. It’s essential to remember that agreeing to one activity or having engaged in it in the past does not grant permission for other activities or future encounters. Establishing clear boundaries and expectations with your partner before engaging in any sexual activity is crucial. We also reminded the participants that a no mean no and doesn’t mean yes or maybe. See you Tuesday