The matter of Consent – GP

“Consent” is permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Getting consent is one important way we respect another person’s autonomy and make sure they feel comfortable and safe.

Touching someone without their consent, even in a way that might feel good and natural to you, might be uncomfortable or even abusive to the person you’re touching.

(The consent video is property of RockStarDinosaurPiratePrincess and Blue Seat Studios)

These are some ways people indicate consent: 

  • Saying, writing, or nodding “yes”
  • Initiating or responding positively to the contact (leaning in, returning a hug, etc.)

These do not indicate consent:

  • Shrugging
  • Uncomfortable laughter
  • Silence
  • Saying “I don’t know”
  • Being asleep
  • Being unconscious
  • Freezing 

Body language is also an important indicator of consent. Tension in the muscles or on the face can indicate that the person you are touching is uncomfortable. A person who feels safe and comfortable will be naturally relaxed and will not stiffen or freeze in response to contact.

Remember: consent can be withdrawn at any time. If a staff member agrees to permitted contact but then asks you to stop, or if they seem relaxed but then go stiff or pull away, that means you must stop immediately.

If you’re not sure – ask.

Important note: A child who is under the age of consent in your state cannot give consent at all for forbidden contact – meaning, even if the child explicitly asks for that kind of contact, it is still not okay to do so under any circumstances.

Additionally, because of power dynamics and the hierarchy of influence between levels of power in relationships, no sexual contact is permitted with any campers (even if they are over the age of consent).

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