Body Language And Consent

23 Mar

Thomas from wrote an excellent explaining new research that demonstrates that a non-verbal no is as clear as a verbal no.

This is particularly important when we consider the trauma response to sexual assault. An assault triggers the fight, flight or freeze response. I know I talk a lot about fighting, as a martial arts instructor, but the reality is that in that moment of intense stress, many victims freeze. Just because someone does not fight back does not mean that they gave consent. It also does not mean they deserved to be assaulted or were responsible for the attack in any way. Yet, in the few rape cases that go to trial, the most common defense is to assert that the encounter was consensual. This defense often focuses on what the victim did not do (ex. fight back, say no clearly or loudly or believably enough, etc.). Unfortunately, what they did do (in terms of non-verbal communication) would be hard to recreate in court. This new research is just one more piece of evidence supporting the fact that victims should be believed and that creepers know exactly what they are doing.

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One Response to “Body Language And Consent”

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  1. How to be polite without inviting unwanted attention « SAFE Women and Girls - May 2, 2011

    [...] Creepers recognize your body language. Listen to your gut: If it feels creepy, it IS creepy! Creeping is an aggressive act. This person is entering your physical and social space uninvited and ignoring your signs that they are not welcome. [...]

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