Are ‘consent videos’ before sex the answer to #MeToo?

Shot of a happy young couple using a mobile phone together in bed at home
Shot of a happy young couple using a mobile phone together in bed at home

A woman tells the story of how she was about to have sexual intercourse with a man she knew well, when he suddenly pulled out his phone, held it out and asked her to quickly record a consent audio.

“What”? She asked blinking? She thought she had heard him wrong, when he quickly repeated himself.

“Could you just say that you consent to having sex with me?” 

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She quickly learned that it was becoming a trend when a “friend of friend” shared a similar experience, recounting her experience with a small–time celebrity.

The man asked her to record a video, stating her full name and the fact that she was there willingly and consented to sexual intercourse with him.

He told her that if she ever tried claiming rape, the video would be used as evidence. “To be honest, it made me feel a bit like a smash-and-dash,” she said. 

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These women's experiences demonstrate how some men still do not understand what consent really is, and are now anxiously trying to protect themselves against any potential sexual assault accusation.

This trend also prompts us to ask numerous questions like: Would a ‘consent video’ hold water in court?

“Can it be regarded as evidence to prove beyond doubt that there was an agreement? 

READ MORE: Why can't we agree on what consent is?

Speaking to Refinery29, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales Katie Rusell said the concept of a ‘consent video’ is deeply troubling. “And perpetuates the lie that most reports of sexual assault are false.

When it comes to the question of whether or not this method will ‘protect’ men against false sexual assault accusations, Barrister Kate Fortescue explains that consent may be withdrawn at any stage during the sexual intercourse.

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“Recently I dealt with a case where the victim consented to sexual intercourse with her partner but asked him to stop when it became painful. He didn’t stop. The accused was convicted because of photographic evidence on the victim’s phone showing the black eye he’d given her while she pleaded with him to stop”

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According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, consent is about communication, both verbal and physical.

They encourage both partners to verbally check in with each other during sexual intercourse. This can be done by constantly asking if the other person is still comfortable, and carefully reading their body language.

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