The #MeToo motion has began a dialog on what consent really means — and the various nuanced methods it may be given or taken away.
However months after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, and numerous individuals got here ahead with their very own tales of sexual harassment and assault, it appears Canadians’ understanding of consent hasn’t gotten any higher.
READ MORE: Courting within the #MeToo period can imply extra confusion over consent, specialists say
The truth is, a survey launched by the Canadian Girls’s Basis Wednesday exhibits that folks throughout the nation are literally much less assured that they perceive the idea of consent than they had been years in the past.
Based on the survey of greater than 1,500 respondents, solely 28 per cent of Canadians say they totally perceive what consent means. That’s down 5 proportion factors from 2015.
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Paulette Senior, president and CEO of the Canadian Girls’s Basis, defined the outcomes had been a shock.
“It’s shocking as a result of we’ve been having a variety of dialog across the concern of sexual assault, sexual harassment, in society at giant and inside workplaces,” she stated.
What it means, primarily, is that women and men alike are actually realizing how a lot they don’t learn about consent.
“A method that I’d perceive is probably individuals are turning into extra clear by way of what sexual assault is, and subsequently some of us are most likely realizing that maybe they don’t totally know [what consent means].”
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Training on consent as an ongoing dialog
Training about consent is one thing that many respondents to the survey supported.
Forty-four per cent stated that extra consciousness must be raised about learn how to give and get consent and that it was a very powerful subsequent step in progressing the #MeToo motion.
Senior stated the training should enable people to “freely discuss what consent is when individuals come collectively for sexual exercise.”
And a key facet of that training includes gaining an understanding that consent just isn’t a one-time dialog, however moderately it’s ongoing by way of verbal and non-verbal communication.
“Behaviour is a part of it,” Senior explains. “Is there somebody initiating and is somebody responding positively? Is somebody clearly exhibiting that they’re enthusiastically ?”
WATCH: Instructing younger college students about consent and wholesome relationships
Misconceptions about consent
Meaghan Peckham, a therapist based mostly in Toronto who focuses on areas of home abuse, violence and sexual abuse, defined consent might be obscure as a result of it’s sophisticated and there are nonetheless a variety of misconceptions.
“It’s then tough to wrap our heads round fuller conceptions of consent when we’ve got been eager about it in a selected method,” Peckham stated.
“Myths about ‘gray space’ in consent, the place an absence of resistance can imply sure, nonetheless pervade, in addition to a lack of information as to how elements akin to substance use, alcohol, and age, can change the definition of consent.”
WATCH: Why authorized specialists say #MeToo is greater than only a motion
Peckham added that there’s additionally a false impression that consent is barely wanted for penetrative intercourse — however it really applies to any case if you end up touching somebody’s physique.
“Every new encounter requires expressed consent by each events, and might be withdrawn at any time,” she defined.
One other false impression is that consent must be given beforehand solely.
Peckham says that consent must occur earlier than, throughout and after bodily contact.
“In case you are questioning whether or not somebody is concerned about partaking in sexual exercise, or if somebody appears hesitant or not having enjoyable, then it’s best to cease what you’re doing.”
This Canadian Girls’s Basis survey was carried out on-line in partnership with Maru/Matchbox between April 23 and 27. It has a pattern measurement of 1,502 Canadians aged 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 instances out of 20. The statistics had been weighted based on Census knowledge to make sure outcomes are consultant of the Canadian inhabitants.
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