What Is Consent?

Let’s talk about consent! In a world of #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein allegations, it has become apparent that there is a discrepancy between education and action. Clearly it’s time to get some definitions correct. RAINN (The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) defines consent as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” Consent can be verbal or non-verbal, but the key is communication. Being open about what you like or don’t like is the best way to ensure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves.

Now that we know what consent is generally, let’s get more specific. What is “enthusiastic consent?” Also known as “yes means yes,” enthusiastic consent is the idea that the absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes.” Instead, all partners should be engaged and enthusiastic about each sexual act. We want to move towards a world in which enthusiastic consent is the norm, creating healthy conversations around sexuality and stopping victim blaming. However, until we reach that goal, Porchlight strives to support survivors by providing free counseling, thereby helping students find healing and empowerment.