Did you know that one out of every three South African adolescents did not give consent for her first sexual experience? That means that a third of all South African girls are raped.
Because sex without consent is rape.
Let’s repeat that: Sex without consent is rape.
What is sexual consent?
Sexual consent is actually very easy to understand. If a person says they want to have sex with you, great! Go ahead and have sex with them. If a person says they don’t want to have sex (or any other kind of sexual activity) with you, or if they’re unconscious, or if they’re unsure, they have not given consent and you must not have sex with them.
This short video makes it really simple to understand sexual consent and it’s well worth watching.
The 10 things every man and woman needs to know about sexual consent
1.Women: you CAN reject sex
Many South African women, particularly those under 25, believe they don’t have the option to reject non-consensual sex. If you don’t want to have sex, you have the right to say NO.
2.Partners should consistently seek consent from each other
To borrow from the video you’ve just seen, just because a person wants a cup of tea today doesn’t mean they’ll want tea tomorrow or the next day or next week. Get consent for every sexual encounter between you and your partner.
3.Seeking consent doesn’t have to be awkward
It can be respectful while still being sexy, because it gets you talking about the sexual acts you want to do (and those you don’t). Creating safe spaces for open, honest discussions helps keep you and your partner happy and satisfied.
4.Drugs and alcohol don’t replace sexual consent
Have you ever regretted your behaviour or a decision you’ve made when you’ve been under the influence? If a person has taken drugs or had too much to drink, she is unable to make rational, logical decisions, and is therefore unable to give consent – even if her words seem to say otherwise. Do not have sex with her. Make sure she’s safe, and be respectful enough to leave her alone.
5.If a person is unconscious, they cannot give consent
Having sex with a person who is passed out is rape.
6.If a person passes out half-way through sex, stop having sex with them
Continuing to have sex with a person who is unable to continue giving consent becomes non-consensual, and is therefore also rape.
7.If you have sex, or any kind of sexual activity, with a person who did not give consent, it is rape
There are no grey areas: sex without consent it rape.
8.Regular STI screening and HIV testing is an important part of sexual consent
Respectful, consensual sex involves two partners who are both willing to have sex, and both happy with the sex they’re having. Sexual health plays an important role in this. Get regular HIV and STI screening to help make your partner feel comfortable and secure about having sex with you.
9.Marie Stopes provides safe spaces for women and supports their choices
The Marie Stopes centres across SA offer advice, support and help for all women. We’re also passionately pro-choice, which includes the right to choose when to have sex, and with whom.
10.Help and support is a phone call away
Whatever your sexual healthcare need or concern, we’re here to help. Contact Marie Stopes on 0800 11 77 85 or make an appointment online.