BY PURITY NTHIANA
We grew up watching cartoons, films and comics on all sorts of social issues, but no one told us anything about consent.
Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Consent is not and cannot be given when someone is sleeping or passed out or frozen in fear.
Silence is not consent, and someone repeatedly asking the partner to have sex over and over and over until they simply give up and give in is not consent.
Children cannot consent with adults to have sex — that’s defilement and child abuse.
Before you get sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too. You can also change your mind at any point in an encounter, so even if you say yes and at any point you start feeling uncomfortable you can withdraw consent and say “no.”
NO is a complete sentence. NO simply means NO.
You should never give in just to please your partner, or because they have paid for drinks or bought you a gift. Preferably, it would be less confusing and frustrating for your partner if you would let him/ her know prior that you are not ready. It’s important to communicate with your partner what you want and what you don’t want.
Without consent, any sexual activity including oral sex, genital touching and vaginal, anal or oral penetration is clearly rape. Consent does not just apply to dating relationships, but even in marriage you have the right to say No.
Just because you have put a ring on it doesn’t mean the person is ready to have sex with you every single night. Learn your partners body behaviors and how they respond to certain situations.
When someone sends nude photos does that count as consenting? NO! Consent is the capacity and freedom to make the choice, free from pressure from someone else.
Healthy communication about what you want and what you don’t want is essential. We need communication on using protection after consenting and making your partner realize that you have a say in the relationship and that you have the right to protect yourself. We have seen many young women getting killed because they refused to give in to sexual advances.
Communication is a crucial tool even in mere friendships between both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Retrogressive and oppressive stereotypes have taught males that they are supposed to make the decision for females, that they are superior to the females and should be controlling.
This has led to many unreported incidents of sexual gender-based violence. What individuals need to understand is no one owns you. You have the right to refuse sex. Consent is not a game and people can do more for the people around them to ensure they are capable of healthy communication. An example would be telling your partner “I love when you do this or I don’t like this and that.”
Age appropriate sexuality education in schools will help in addressing issues of sex in and relationships especially in adolescents. Which includes information on sexual violence prevention, relationships and abstinence, contraception and condoms, body image, sexual orientation and how to avoid unintended pregnancies.
Let’s campaign to end patriarchy in the society. Men should understand that no one owes anybody sex, not even in marriage. Let’s practice healthy relationships without forcing one to engage in a sexual activity.
Miss Nthiana is a sexual reproductive health advocate at NAYA Kenya