Yes! Yes! Yes! Consent and sex

2015-02-08 18:00

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It’s important to be certain that the person you are having sex with consents to it. Not only can sex without consent do immense psychological damage to the victim, it is against the law.

There’s a misconception that if someone doesn’t say no or show physical signs of fighting off the other person, consent has been given.

Many women sometimes freeze, immobilised by the fear of being attacked. They might not actually say no, but this does not mean they are saying yes. The law says affirmative consent must be received, which means a verbal yes has to be given.

What is consent?

When both parties say yes and show enthusiasm. Look out for physical and verbal cues. Is the other person kissing and touching you while you kiss and touch them? If you are unsure, ask: “Are you okay with this? Do you want to continue?”

Some instances where consent is assumed but not, in fact, given:

»?Sex with underage children. Children do not have the capacity to make adult decisions. Sex with a minor is statutory rape, which is a crime.

»?In a marriage where one partner wants sex and the other doesn’t. Just because you’re married does not mean you’re obligated to ensure the fulfilment of your partner’s every sexual whim. A clear yes still has to be given and each partner should know not to force themselves on the other.

»?Likewise, just because you’ve had sex with someone before does not mean they will always give consent. If he or she doesn’t want to have sex after having consented before, graciously accept that the answer is no. If you still coerce or force them into having sex, it’s rape.

»?Having sex with someone who is intoxicated and incapable of making a decision or giving explicit consent is rape. You do not have consent.

»?Someone may initially give consent, but change his or her mind midway. They are entitled to change their mind and revoke the consent.Continuing would be a criminal offence.

What is rape?

The law describes rape as: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

The three types of rape:


This type of rape expresses rage and hatred towards the victim. The rapist wants the person to feel and understand his or her anger, even though the victim may not be the one who provoked the rage. The rapist needs to take it out on someone and make him or her suffer.


This rapist wants to express power and domination over the victim. They want to show how very powerful, masculine and sexually adequate they are.


This rapist is obsessed with the ritual that goes along with the sex. This could be making the victim act out a part in some sort of role-play and could involve mutilation or torture as a means of getting the rapist excited.

Rape can be perpetrated by strangers, acquaintances, friends and partners (date and interrelationship rape falls in this category) or a spouse.

There is no clear-cut way to prevent rape. But telling women and girls to limit their freedom by stipulating their dress code so as to avoid sexual violence being perpetrated against them is not the way to solve the epidemic.

Instead of blaming women for what they drink and what they wear, society needs to hold men accountable for this unspeakable crime. Our sons need to be raised to respect women and their bodies.

Talk to us: Do you have a question for Jade? SMS us at 34263 using the keyword SEX. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50 each

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