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“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:
These do not indicate consent:
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Remember: consent can be withdrawn at any time.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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In the “consent” video, tea is used as a metaphor for:
Once you give consent, the agreement stands. It’s silly to change your mind and expect the person to understand or be okay with it.
Many minors are very mature and capable of giving consent.
It is okay to change your mind. It doesn’t matter if you’ve said yes or been intimate previously. Consent needs to be given for every encounter.
Asking for consent shows a person that you respect them and want them to feel comfortable and safe
She decided to surprise him and wake him up with a kiss! She heard a rumor that he liked her, so she was sure he’ll love it and think it’s romantic! Is this proper consent?
He said yes, but his body language was stiff and jumpy. Is this proper consent?
She was shy, but she was smiling and laughing; she never said no. Is this proper consent?
He asked if he could give her a kiss, so she nodded and leaned in a little. Is this proper consent?
I’m a camp counselor. My camper and I get along so well, and she’s over the legal age of consent in our state! That means she can give me consent for some types of sexual interactions and advances, right?