marsden_online: (elf)
If I am honest I have been procrastinating starting this post. But I have also been rolling bits of it around and around in my head.

To start go and read the comic No 'I' in Sex from Toby Morris's PencilSword, if you haven't seen it already. The rest of this post will wait :)
continued )
marsden_online: (write)
I have realised there is an important point I only touched on indirectly in my previous post on Consent and KAOS, and that is to do with personal responsibility.
This post is a follow-up to address that point.

Rules and Disclaimers


Same as before:
1. Mild trigger and hot-button warnings for conversation around sexual assault, non/consent and KAOS party behaviour.
2. I've tried to keep this as gender neutral as possible - I know we're socially conditioned to automatically cast thse events in a M-on-F light but F-on-M, F-on-F and M-on-M events are equally problematic, and often more difficult to speak up about.
3. Conversation seems to have started at Livejournal for the original post anyway, so if you are reading this on Dreamwidth please go to LJ to comment on this post as well. Anon comments will be screened automatically.
4. These are my opinions; opinions do not exist in a vacumn. I'm happy to engage further in conversation/debate; I'm happy for people to share their experiences if they feel like doing so; I will not tolerate personal attacks, criticism of peoples actions/reactions in an event or well-intended advice in response.
5. At points in these posts I've straight out borrowed from a few other people who have already said the things I would like to say, often better, with permission for the big chunks. I haven't attributed these because I want people to be able to choose if or how they enter the conversation. If you recognise someone's voice or comment from elsewhere please respect that. If you see your words in here, thank you.
Personal responsibility )
What do you do? )
Advanced suggestions )
Conclusion )
marsden_online: (write)
So this weekend the periodically re-occuring discussion on behaviour and consent at KAOS parties fired up again. And it feels like there is a new vibe to it this time, a more positive one than I have experienced in my going-on-20 years of seeing it repeated.

This post collects a lot of my thoughts and opinions on the subject into one place. Because FB discussions are hard to reference later and verbal discussions even more so, and heck some of these are just jotted down in my notes for my contribution to an somewhat improvised speaking at the 48-Hour party just been.

Rules and Disclaimers


1. Mild trigger and hot-button warnings for conversation around sexual assault, non/consent and KAOS party behaviour.
2. I've tried to keep this as gender neutral as possible - I know we're socially conditioned to automatically cast thse events in a M-on-F light but F-on-M, F-on-F and M-on-M events are equally problematic, and often more difficult to speak up about.
3. Comments on this post to be directed at the Dreamwidth version please. Anon comments will be screened automatically.
Update: conversation seems to have started at the Livejournal post anyway, so comment there.
4. These are my opinions; opinions do not exist in a vacumn. I'm happy to engage further in conversation/debate; I'm happy for people to share their experiences if they feel like doing so; I will not tolerate personal attacks, criticism of peoples actions/reactions in an event or well-intended advice in response.
5. At points in this post I've straight out borrowed from a few other people who have already said the things I would like to say, often better, with permission for the big chunks. I haven't attributed these because I want people to be able to choose if or how they enter the conversation. If you recognise someone's voice or comment from elsewhere please respect that. If you see your words in here, thank you.

A matter of scale )
Surfacing the experiences )
Framing the problem )
Partial solutions )
Missing stairs )
Calling people out )
Your responsibilities when you bring a friend to KAOS )
Modelling consent )

On consent

Nov. 6th, 2013 08:53 pm
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Consent is not a point in time.
Consent is not on/off.
Consent is not a constant - once defined always there.
Consent is not one defining answer.

Consent is a conversation, a process, a ongoing negotiation, a two-way street.
Consent is a variable with values which can rise, fall or move sideways in infinite directions depending on the situation. You may have consent to do X - in this situation - but not to go as far as Y. The situation may just have changed to one where you no longer have consent to do X.
Aside: you may not have been responsible for the thing which changed the situation. Try not to get hung up on fault.

Consent sometimes has to be negotiated between more than just two parties.

Consent can be rescinded or reduced at any time. It be just as easy (arguably easier) to withdraw consent as to escalate it.

Silence/lack of dissent is not consent! Active assent is (probably) consent.

Consent does not have to be verbal (although it helps with clarity).
Just because someone has given verbal consent doesn't mean they actually want to. Check the signs.
The converse is not true. No means no. Slow down means back off as far as it takes. Just because someone might "want" to does not mean they think it is a good idea, or that they are able. They might reopen the conversation later. (They might not.)

Judgement when intoxicated is questionable. Consent when intoxicated (drunk/stoned/whatever) even more so. Take responsibility for both of your wellbeings - default to "No" or a "lower" level of consent on your part if you believe they (or your) might be making impaired decisions.

(I'm sure a lot of good relationships have come out of drunken hook-ups, but do you really want to sleep with someone who wouldn't be interested in you sober/straight? What does that say about the respect involved?)

(I admit I have cocked up most of the above in the past. Probably will do again. No one said consent was easy.)

~~~
Okay now go read this post on modelling consent.
I personally wasn’t able to imagine a culture of consent until I saw it. And now that I have seen it, I feel the need to share my story, so maybe others can imagine it too.


Searching my past posts (thank you Dreamwidth for a decent search function!) I find I've also written a few other relevant posts in the past.

~~~
just some stuff about me. The important bit is finished )
marsden_online: (write)
This series started with the statistic that "6% of college age men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word "rape" isn’t used in the description of the act."

One obvious conclusion is that many of these men don't view themselves as "rapists". They genuinely believe this is the way things are done. Or to quote a comment on my previous (filtered) post (which I hope the OP doesn't mind me using):
one time when I was quite young there was an incident with a slightly older guy, and I was convinced then (and still am) that he was only doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing with no malicious intent, and I was too naive to realise what was happening.

I'm unhappy to have known people who believe that that the way it is done is you "get a girl drunk to get laid", or "they all play hard to get" and "you have to show her that you mean it" ... but it's still all too common. And that's because our society is still growing up.

After all it's not all that long ago that slavery was still "the way it is done". Or that a wife was the "property" of her husband. (Marital rape became a crime in NZ in 1985. And we're pretty progressive about it. Wikipedia has a list). In some cultures and sub-cultures that's still very much the way it is.

So what we are doing now by

- effectively broadening the scope that the term rape (with all it's negative connotations), is applied to, and
- getting rid of the mostly false stranger-danger narrative

is setting a better "normal". One where the understanding "this is how it is done" does not include assuming, overriding or removing the ability to consent on the other person's part. And where this understanding is gained

- less by actions taken and corrected after the fact (because actions taken and -not- challenged reinforce the current understanding)
- more by the new understanding being woven into the very fabric of society

This change takes generations. We are still at the stage of challenging actions taken because of the old understanding. And hell, even with the benefit of self-knowledge trying not to make our own mistakes.

Mistakes will always be made at the individual level as part of the learning process and simply because of the intricacies of negotiating and communicating (and withdrawing if necessary) consent. But better baseline expectations can let these be caught earlier, responded to better, and thus less likely to result in learning negative behaviour.
marsden_online: (write)
This link came through my FB feed. Feminists don’t think all men are rapists. Rapists do. I wish I'd had this link to smack someone in the face with in KAOS chat a little while ago.

It includes the statistic that 6% of college age men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word "rape" isn’t used in the description of the act. . It's not clear in the original post that that is a link (poor design), but it is and after a couple of clickthroughs I got to a Yes means Yes blog post dedicated to the relevant studies which includes the actual text of the questions and some analysis.

Now before anyone starts saying "but this doesn't happen here" - yes it fucking does. Even within KAOS I'm aware of instances - I can't compare the frequency in any qualitative fashion, but it happens (without even going into situations involving emotional blackmail...). The lines around consent aren't drawn anywhere near as clearly as some like to claim they are and the social penalties for breaching or bending consent aren't any clearer - or enforced any better - than anywhere else.

Perhaps the most important corollary to the no means no rule, which I saw quoted in the comments from one of the above links but rarely emphasised, is "Silence does not mean yes". In a supposedly permissive environments it's all too easy to assume that a lack of dissent is the same as assent. To tie this into another exchange I was involved in yesterday - bzzzt wrong. A lack of dissent only means you are being denied permission to communicate. That's a NO.

An assent requires an active response. This obviously doesn't have to be verbal, but it must be there. If you come up to me and put your arms around me and I just sit/stand there (as I have done a bit recently in lieu of punching people and yelling "get out of my space") that should be a pretty clear indication you aren't welcome.

The second part of this is going into a filter as it gets pretty personal and delves into some dark places in my psyche. Anyone who particularly wants to see it is welcome to ask.

~~~
(I apologise for use of the word rape in the title, it's not one I emphasise lightly but there didn't seem a gentler/potentially less triggering alternative given the content of the post.)

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