What does it mean? (HLD 391)

20 April 2021

Australians – did you see the bizarre video that was produced to instruct young people on what consent means? Non-Australians, please feel free to Google this – it involves a milkshake, and is truly a bit weird.

It goes along the lines of a young male and young female sitting at a bench and she asks if he would like a sip of her milkshake. He agrees, has a sip, tells her he prefers his own milkshake, so she grabs a handful of the milk froth and smashes it into his face.

Apparently this is meant to be a clear and insightful way of teaching everyone, young and old, about consent.

Granted, I did not sit through the entire presentation, only seeing the short clip that was shown on news networks, but…. what the????

This very insightful bit of education came from our government, who themselves are having a bit of an issue lately in the area of women and consent. There aren’t many milkshake issues that I know of, but there’s definitely ‘too drunk to consent’ issues, and everyday (unfortunately) harassment issues.

There was an English presentation a number of years back that told the message plainly – you offer someone a cup of tea, they say yes please, but when you’ve gone to the effort of boiling the kettle and filling the teapot, they decide they no longer want a cup of tea. It’s their choice. It’s annoying, given that you went to all that effort with the kettle and the teapot, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. (Maybe you should have offered a cookie as well as tea….just a suggestion). There’s nothing to suggest you can’t just drink that already warmed up cup of tea all by yourself.

Why do we need to educate people into what ‘No’ means? You would think that it’s a fairly straight forward statement, concise and very very precise. It’s not “No, but…”, not “Maybe no, maybe yes”, or “No but I’m willing to let you persuade me”. It’s ”No”.

“No” is a word that we actually need to use more, and mean it. And it’s a word that we all need to understand and accept.

If someone asks you to do something – maybe to help them move house, for example – that you genuinely don’t have the time (or inclination) to do, you should be able to say “No” without worrying about how the other person will react. And if someone says “No” to your request, you have to accept it and see who else you can get to help you. Or manage on your own.

Whether it’s moving house or having sex – you are allowed to say “No”.

Oh, and by the way – someone who is drunk or unconscious is in no shape to consent to helping move houses.

Or have sex.

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