Project Consent Videos Send Strong Message About Affirmative Consent

March 12th 2016

People tend to agree that having sex with someone who has explicitly declined it constitutes as sexual assault. But it's a fact that not all consent violations are this cut-and-dry. Project Consent, a volunteer-based nonprofit, recognized that consent and dissent can come in different forms and released a series of videos that used whimsical, animated body parts to recognize and react to unwanted signals from sexual partners. The videos transmit a very serious message about sexual encounters—"if it's not yes, it's no."

Project Consent Project Consent - projectconsent.com

You Can Say No Without Saying 'No.'

As one installment of the video series points out, you can decline consent using verbal and physical signals without explicitly saying the word 'no.' A bouncy, spherical vagina says "Hey!" taken aback when the penis character bumps up against it.

Penis And VaginaProject Consent - projectconsent.com

The vagina then does an about-face, illustrating that both words and physical reactions can transmit the message that someone doesn't want to have sex. The penis, quite the stand-up guy, apologizes by saying, "My bad."

Penis Vagina About FaceProject Consent

In another installment, a butt responds to the ever-touchy penis mumbling a "Nuh-uh," to show yet another way people may decline sexual advances without uttering a simple yes-or-no answer.

Penis and ButtProject Consent

Consent Doesn't Just Apply To Intercourse.

The project also emphasizes that affirmative consent shouldn't only be taken into account in terms of sex. In one of the video shorts, a boob and hand are depicted laughing and having a nice time until the hand gets grabby. "Whoa," the boob says.

Boob and HandProject Consent

The hand replies, "Sorry, I just thought..." This video illustrates that even if someone seems flirty and gregarious, this is not an open invitation to touch them.

Each video closes with the statement, "Consent is simple. If it's not yes, it's no."

The videos provide a clear, entertaining and educational explainer on affirmative consent and stress the importance of being attuned to your partner's body language, as well as what they say and don't say in sexual situations.

The Importance of Affirmative Consent

Many victims of sexual assault report that they didn't say the word 'no' outright, but issued other physical or verbal signals to express that they did not want to have sex. When this happens, blame is often placed on the victim for not communicating clearly or properly.

The affirmative consent movement aims to shift society's definition of consensual sex to insist not only that 'no means no', but also that both partners should clearly say 'yes' before engaging in intercourse. According to the definition of consent, it "can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

Each of the Project Consent videos illustrates a situation in which someone assumes a partner consented, until they clear up that this actually wasn't the case. The videos, which all close with the statement "If it's not yes, it's no," reinforce the importance of getting clear permission to engage in sexual activity before partaking in sexual behaviors. They also work through the awkward situations that occur when consent is presumed but hasn't been given. The campaign has been applauded for explaining consent in clear language on Twitter:

Consent Has Been in the Public Eye Recently.

As ATTN: has reported, assault made headlines recently when Kesha was denied an injunction that would have released her from a contract with her producer and alleged abuser. The New York Supreme Court judge who handled the case said that the producer's $60 million investment in Kesha's music career was what made him ultimately rule against her. "My instinct is to do the commercially reasonable thing," he said.

Lady Gaga also performed a tribute to sexual assault survivors at the Oscars. Vice President Joe Biden introduced her and spoke out about sexual assault at the ceremony.

The performance inspired other female celebrities to come forward with their own stories and experiences of sexual assault.

Kesha tweeted at both the singer and Biden, thanking them:

Model Amber Rose brilliantly explained consent and slammed victim-blaming on a Feb. 19 segment of the show "It's Not You, It's Men."

"If I want to wear a short skirt or a tank top, and I'm at the club and I'm having fun with my friends and I feel sexy, I'm not DTF," Rose explained. "I'm not 'asking for' nothing."

Raising public awareness about consent through campaigns, videos like Project Consent, social media and stories of the individuals who experienced it, will hopefully help change the current faulty social scripts related to sex.

You can watch the first Project Consent video series below, and the rest of the series on their website.

[H/T BuzzFeed]

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Should consent be defined as "yes means yes" instead of "no means no"?

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