Where is consent applicable?
Sometimes I feel like people are arguing about consent, as if it’s for one group and no one else. As if it can be used the same way across the board. As if all victims and protections are the same. I don’t think they are. So here is what I see:
- how young, innocent, frail, dependent on their good will and protection are you? Are they a parent, guardian? Or an occasional care giver? Or someone who is just in the periphery of your household? How independent are you? Could you be left to care for yourself? Legally? Are you capable of meaningful consent? Do you understand the ramifications of your actions and theirs?
- How invested are you in the relationship continuing? Are you dating/ playing together? Or are you in a long term relationship with them? Do you have property or a shared household? Do you have kids that rely on this relationship? Do you share finances? How quickly and safely could you leave if you had to? And could you take care of yourself and /or the kids if you had to?
- If this person has power/authority over you, does it extend beyond intimate roles? Do you receive money/a paycheck or allowance from them? Do they help you pay your bills or give you a salary? How much do you need their good will to forward your career?
- Is it just sexual or more? Is sex included? Does the relationship and it’s power extend beyond the bedroom or dungeon and sex?
- How much support do you have or need to change things so you feel safe?
- Is it manipulative, seductive, or harrassment? Or is it violence? Is the violence a one-off (unlikely) or an escalating pattern? (most likely) How often does it occur? How bad does it get? Is it worth blowing things up to avoid this?
As you can see, it’s a multi-faceted discussion, and applicable in many relationships. It’s no easy task to figure out where you are in this. And that is presuming that you are mentally and physically fit and can parse this out.
Abusers rarely slap you the first day you ever meet them. And it isn’t usually the first day that you end up in the hospital, almost dead.
You have many days of loving and needing this person to come to that day. And everything is tangled together. Like a ball of yarn after a kitten has played with it for a few hours. Wet and soggy with tears, saliva, peeing yourself with fear and desire. Feeling like crap and that you deserve it. Like you are the piece of shit they say you are. It takes unravelling the mixed messages you get and the ambifuous feelings you have.
It takes going from a place of immobility to racing time and energy to get to safety before they return.
See? Not so easy, and one size doesn’t fit all. IMO (having been there)