Because we try to prevent sexual violence from happening in the first place, we think it is important that you know about CONSENT.
You may not be ready for anything sexual (and you may never be), but that's ok. It's always a good time to learn about consent though, because consent is all about our right to choose what we want to do with our own bodies.
Consent means "free agreement" to a sexual act (for example: kissing, touching each other, sexting, or sexual intercourse) with someone. The law in Scotland says that if you do not have consent to a sexual act, then this is an offence.
There are also laws in Scotland that tell us what age a young person must be in order to freely consent to sexual acts. These vary depending on the sexual act, but 16 is the age of consent for sexual intercourse and 18 is the age of consent for sexual images.
But consent is about more than just the law and what is illegal or not. It is a value we should all hold in healthy relationships. It is about treating each other well and being respectful to each other too.
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Further explained, healthy sexual relationships with good consent are:
- Voluntary and Non-coerced If you kiss or have sex with someone because they threaten or pressure you into doing it, then this can't be consensual.
- Sober If you and/or your partner are very drunk or have taken drugs you and/or your partner can't consent.
- Enthusiastic If you are about to have sex with someone and you are not sure how they feel about it, you should check with them that they are into it and enjoying it, too.
- Verbal The easiest and safest way to make sure your partner is happy and consenting is communicating! Ask what they like, if they are okay and let them know that you can stop at any time.
- Continual Just because your partner wants to do something now doesn't mean you always have consent from them onwards. Again, check in with your partner if they are still enjoying the time you're spending together, and make sure you share consent next time.
- Active Just because someone might not say no doesn't meant you have consent. Sometimes people are too scared to say no or freeze up as a natural reaction to being nervous. So make sure that they actively give you consent (pay attention to e.g. what they are saying, body language, facial expressions or tension of the body, if you're unsure: ASK).
- Honest Never assume that your partner is lying to you when they say they don't want sex. When speaking about consent always be honest to each other and trust your partner.
We hope this helps as a guideline, if you ever have questions about consent or similar questions you can get in touch with us or you can ask Cool2Talk for anonymous help.
This section was developed by BEE, our youth activist volunteer group. To find out more about BEE and what we do look here.
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