Violated Words is here again, this time with this wonderful word:
because even as some social conscience has awoken (thanks to some iniciative as #metoo), patriarchy is still on charge and sexism in most of minds. And it is because of trying to justify what is unjustifiable, this word comes out over and over, so it has been abused as much as those towards it is used. So, let´s see…
- to give assent or permission (to do something); agree; accede
- acquiescence to or acceptance of something done or planned by another; permission
- accordance or harmony in opinion; agreement (esp in the phrase with one consent)
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French consentir, from Latin consentīre to feel together, agree, from sentīre to feel
There are lot of news (I don´t have the links right now because the ones I looked in the previous version of this post were in Spanish… but, google it!), at least in Spain (my birth country), were rapers are defended and victims doubted taking into account if she consented or not and these people are raping, violating, themselves the word consent.
They are putting consent at the same level of desire.
According to wordreference,
de•sire /dɪˈzaɪr/ v., -sired, -sir•ing, n.
v. [ not: be + ~-ing]
- to wish for;
want or long for: [ ~ + obj]:What he really desires is a raise.[ ~ + to + verb]:She desired to be a veterinarian.[ ~ + obj + to + verb]:What do you desire them to do?
- [ ~ + obj] to want sexually.
- [ ~ + obj] to ask for;
request:The mayor desires your presence at the meeting.
- a longing or craving:[countable]an uncontrollable desire for chocolate.
- [uncountable]a strong wish to have sexual relations.
This means, they are setting out the inexistence of a rape, arguing that the victim desired the sexual relationship because (s)he consented to it. This is a falacy based in violating the word consent. A person does not long for, wish for, crave for because (s)he gives permission, agrees or accepts it.
I think that longing for something is not the same as consent it. I can consent to someone giving me names, spits to me or hits me but that doesn´t mean I desire that, for example. I can consent to work more hours than my employment agreement says, earning the same, but that doesn´t mean that I desire it. I can consent that my partner despises me or laugh at me, but that doesn´t mean that I desire it. And my consent to any of these incidents doesn´t imply that they are more acceptable. Even punishable.
I am pretty sure that if I am walking down the street and someone comes and forces me to give him my ´wallet and I do it and I go to the police no one will say, «hey, but… did you consent on givin that person your wallet? Because if it is so, you cannot press charges, even if you didn´t want to give him/her your money or your id. And, if you felt scared or intimidated… well… what can I say? Maybe your wallet was showing so you were inviting to rob you…»
It does sound ridiculous, isn´t it? Then, why we violate that word? Why do we use consent as if it was the keyword that opens our body to anyone, even if the sexual relationship wasn´t longed for? Why consenting a sexual relationship (may it be because of not resisting it, being subjected to it or not being able to deny it) implies that you wish for it?
And, if you don´t desire it… why is the consent a valid excuse for the justice to take the abuser´s part, instead of the victim´s?
No, humanies, no.
Let´s stop violating words. Let´s stop putting on the same level opposed words, that no one with a mynimum of vocabulary would use in the same sentence. They cannot even categorize as «complementary». And the only thing we get from this, in this specific issue, is re-victimize victims; show them that, if they consent, if they agree because they are scared, or not able to say no, if they are unable to react or if they freeze… then, they consent on being abused. Because that makes that the perpetrators remain unpunished, free to make that other victim consents on being abused.
Consent is not desire.
«No» means «no». The absence of «yes» means «no» too. And a «yes» under coercion means «no» again. And the list is long, but basically, anything that doesn´t mean «I long for doing this, with you, now» means «no». And anything else are pointless excuses.