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Consent is a big subject, which is rightly getting lots of coverage in the media. But how does consent affect you and your relationships? What can you do if you feel uncomfortable or unsure about giving consent?
Let’s start with the facts:
You have a right to make your own decisions and not be pressured into doing anything that you don’t wish to do. If somebody tries to pressure you into sexual activity, this is abuse and sexual bullying.
You might feel pressured if you are:
Consent isn’t just about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’
It’s important to look for the non-verbal signs of consent and to understand someone’s wishes. Look at your partner’s body language: do they tense up or back away when you try to initiate contact? That’s a sure sign that somebody isn’t consenting, and you should always respect that.
Consent via text or social media
We hear from a number of young people who have had sex or been physically intimate with somebody because they had agreed to it in a text message or on social media. It doesn’t matter what you might have said via text, social media, or even in person – you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, even during a sexual act.
If you would like to learn more about this subject you can come to us for advice and support by calling our helpline on 0808 800 2222. All calls are free from landlines and most mobiles and are strictly confidential.