Ask for Consent When Touching
• It’s important to ask for consent before hugging, tickling, or other kinds of touch.
• Ask sincerely so others understand it’s okay to say no.
• For people who have experienced sexual abuse, any unexpected touch can be scary and traumatic. Others may just prefer more personal space. For example: “Is it okay if I put my arm around you?” or, “Want to hug or wave goodbye?”
• Everyone has boundaries. Some people like to keep things about themselves private, while others are more open.
• If someone shares personal information with you, it’s important to ask what their boundaries are. For example: “My cousin was assaulted and is afraid they will never feel okay again. Is it okay if I tell them that you’re a survivor, too? It’s all right if you’re not comfortable with that.”
• Just like everyone has different boundaries about touch, everyone has different levels of comfort about sharing things online, like photos.
• It is important to always ask before posting or tagging photos of someone on social media. For example: “This is a great photo of all of us! Is it okay if I share it online, or should I take another one without the kids in it? I know you don’t often post photos of them.”
Sex and Consent
• Sex without consent isn’t sex. It’s sexual assault.
• Consent must be freely given. A person must understand what they are agreeing to, and they can change their mind at any time
• Consent needs to be clear and enthusiastic. The absence of “no” or silence does not mean “yes.”
• Past consent does not mean current or future consent.
• When drugs and alcohol are involved, clear consent is not possible. A person who is intoxicated or impaired cannot give consent.
How to Handle the “No”
• Whenever you’re asking for someone’s consent, they could say “no.”
• Accept the answer and move on. Don’t pressure someone to change their mind.
• It’s okay to feel disappointed with a “no” answer. But always remember that respecting boundaries is the right thing to do.
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