Sunday 18 April 2021
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Don’t be that guy-Consent is everything

The crux of the matter is that
After a hellish week in the Twittersphere, once again it behooves that the conversation takes place on what consent is, can consent be retraced and effects of making public statements that may or may not be true.

So a certain good Samaritan on Nam Twitter availed her page to facilitate women who were accusing Zimbabwean born Kudakwashe Gonzo, a UNAM student of sexual assault.

On seeing the initial tweet many other ladies came out to relate their experiences with Gonzo and other men and the ‘movement’ caught fire.

Many of the stories related had a similar thread; “I know the perpetrator. We were friends. We had a casual relationship. We were in a social setting. He offered me a ride home,” etc.

And every incident ended with the woman in question being violated and having to deal with the psychological effect of that.

So here we are, in 2019, having to teach what consent is and how to avoid getting locked up. Or worse – for some – having your name and pictures published publicly with allegations of sexual assault.

And going to court to clear your name is one thing, but proving that you got consent can be hard, very hard.

There was a British cartoon done some years ago, teaching on consent by using the analogy of making someone a cup of tea. It was brilliant because it was simple in the comparisons it made. They want tea, brew it pour it, as them how they like it and serve them it. They wanted tea and in the time it took you to make the tea they changed their mind, don’t give them tea.
They don’t want tea, don’t give them tea and don’t force it down their throat.

They wanted tea and passed out while you were busy brewing and preparing the tea; don’t pour it down their unconscious throat. Don’t pour any tea down anybody’s throat at any time! But especially not when they are unconscious.

How you would feel if you wake up spluttering because someone is pouring tea down your throat?

An interesting observation was made by @Naffy101 on twitter. He provided clarification on incidences emanating from social interactions between men and women and why many men have or would be “guilty for rape or sexual violation within this context.”

@Naffy101 revealed that on the day that Twitter exploded with men being exposed, many were nervous because they realised similarities in the reports given and their own behaviour.

Upon the revelations men were afraid and surprised, because they do not see their behaviour or their actions as rape. Apparently the image of rape men have in their mind is attacking a stranger and violating her violently in some bushes.

So, what is consent? It’s an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given in many way, some of which don’t have to be verbal. A verbal agreement however will help both participants know and respect each other’s boundaries.

In real life, when you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. It should happen every single time. Consenting to one activity, one time, does not mean that one has given consent for more or recurring sexual activity. Agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give them permission to take your clothes off. Having had sex with someone in the past, doesn’t give clearance to have sex in the future.

You are allowed to change your mind at any time. Withdraw consent at any point if you feel uncomfortable.  What is important is that you clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and that you want to stop.

Positive consent could be communicating when you change the type or degree of sexual activity. “Is this OK?” Be explicit in agreeing to activities; say “yes” or “I’m open to trying.” Physical cues can also be used let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things up a notch.

The Wiki definition: The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement), with a large variety of local and international alternative names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. The movement began to spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. It followed sexual-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Tarana Burke, an American social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase “Me Too” as early as 2006, and the phrase was later popularized by American actress Alyssa Milano, on Twitter in 2017. Milano encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it and “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. A number of high-profile posts and responses from American celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence and Uma Thurman, among others, soon followed.

In response to the outcry from especially women on the online space #MeTooNamibia was launched on 6 May with the aim of offering assistance in the form of counselling of medical care to victims of sexual abuse and violations in Namibia.

The movement has the backing of the First Lady of Namibia and other prominent Namibian personalities including Arlana Shikongo and Alna Dahl.

“For those who feel they were falsely accused, they can open a civil case. But we should not be silenced by the 1% who are falsely accused. Rape is not acceptable. It is a crime”, said the First Lady at the launch.

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