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Let’s talk about consent

Consent is permission

 

There’s a lot in the news right now about the conduct of some really influential people, so let’s talk about consent.

Just because you’re a certain gender, age, or in a position of power, it doesn’t give you the right to do what you like, when you like.

Regardless of who you are, you need to be aware of your actions and how they can affect other people at all times. And you’ll also need get consent or permission from others if your actions are going to affect them.

 

How consent works

 

  • You have to be able to give consent. If someone isn’t above the legal age (check what the legal age is in your state), scared, unconscious, or for any other reason physically or mentally incapacitated, then they can NOT legally provide consent.

 

  • Permission must be explicit, meaning it has to be clearly given leaving you with no doubts at all.

 

  • There are no excuses for acting without consent. Even if you are drunk, on drugs, or feel under peer pressure.

 

  • No always means NO.

 

  • It’s always OK to change your mind. Even if you don’t say NO outright, it’s your body and your choice to say stop whenever you like.

 

  • If you give your consent but you’re underage or the other person is in a position of power over you (e.g. a family member, employer, teacher, or carer) it is still considered to be illegal.

 

How do you know if someone has given their consent?

 

It’s pretty simple really:

 

  • You ask if something is OK and receive a clear “YES” in response. (Remember though even at this point it’s still 100% OK for them to change their minds).

 

  • Never assume. Always communicate about your intentions, ask how the other person feels about what you’re planning or what you are doing.

 

  • If someone seems hesitant, uncertain, not sure, or they have to be persuaded to do something, then that’s not consensual.

 

  • Does their body language and facial expression look like they are happy, eager, or excited? If not, then even if they’re saying “Yes” you need to take step back and talk a bit more about it more.

 

  • If you apply pressure or make the other person feel bad in order to get them to agree, then that’s not consent either.

 

This video could help you to clear up what is consent and what’s not.

 

 

Laws around consent in 2021

 

There are no grey areas around consent anymore. The law is very clear about who can consent and who can’t, plus what actually constitutes as consent.

You’ve got to take consent very seriously, not matter what age you are. Without permission touching or kissing someone, messing with their clothing, or making inappropriate comments is called sexual harassment or in worse cases sexual assault. If you have sex without consent, it’s rape.

Acting without consent could get you into lots of trouble and really affect your future. From expulsion at school, to police intervention, a criminal record and even time in prison. The stigma could stop you from getting into university, being employed or even travelling.

 

Looking for more information?

 

Have a read of these links if you’d like to read a bit more about consent:

https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/what-consent

http://www.consentiseverything.com/#Home

https://au.reachout.com/articles/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-sexual-consent

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