Friday, 25 January 2013

Consent is not carte-blanche

***Content warning for discussions of sexual violence and physical violence***

When talking with people about consent, it becomes obvious that a lot of people still subscribe to the notion that there are a lot of grey areas and that because of such subtleties, a person can believe they've been raped when they haven't and someone can rape someone without realizing.

If you are unclear about consent and believe in these grey areas, allow me to help clarify things.

Consent is not a one-time, binding contract that gives a person unlimited access to their partner's body from the time of consent until the sun burns out of the sky. It's a constant, ongoing process in which all partners are responsible for ensuring their partners are ok with what's going on.

Here are some examples of other scenarios where we would not make the same assumptions about consent as we, culturally, do with sex.

If you go to a shop and ask to get your ears pierced, that doesn't mean you're consenting to being stabbed in the chest with an ice pick.

If you enjoy participating in extreme sports, like sky diving and bungee jumping, that doesn't mean you've consented to having your friend push you off a 10-story balcony at a party.

If you start drinking a glass of wine and decide you don't want to finish it, that doesn't mean someone can force you to drink it or waterboard you with it.

If you purchase a day-pass for Wonderland, that doesn't mean you can attend whenever you like from there on in. Even if you purchase a season's pass, you can't go in after-hours, you can't hop over the counter at a food truck and dunk your head in the candy flosser, and once you're in it doesn't mean the park staff can strap you into a rollercoaster and leave you on it for an hour.

It's really as simple as that. You agree to what you agree to until you don't agree to it any more, and your partner has the same right to do so.

Specifically, in regards to sexual contact, that can mean that you agree to kissing, but nothing else. That can mean you agree to sex, but no kissing. That can mean you agree to shaking hands on the first date, to kissing on the second date, and to marrying and earnestly attempting to procreate on the third date.

Let's say that your partner comes off as hot and cold and continually initiates and then stops sexual contact. If you are into it, and want to go as far as they're comfortable, awesome. If you're not into what they're initiating, you have the right to stop them. If there's no communication and you feel like they're starting and stopping just to be a jerk or play games, you have absolutely no obligation to put up with it and can pack up your toys and go home (so to speak).

If there's no communication going on and you feel like this is one of those "grey areas", then it's safer for all parties involved if it stops all together. If you or your partner feel like the one person's desire to continue is more important than ensuring the there's unambiguous consent, then this isn't actually a grey area, it's an excuse and that's why we're here now. Because I'm calling out these excuses for what they really are and I'm not gonna let rapists slide under the radar with this bullhockey.

Thanks for sticking in there with me. Here's some MST3K & lolcats.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

New Year's Resolution Time!

Yes, I'm a bit late, but that's ok. I've done a lot this past year, and I'm looking forward to being even more productive in 2013.

Before I get into what I want to do, let's take time to reflect on what I have done:
  • started my job as a permanent employee as of Jan.2nd, 2012
  • signed up for the gym and met with a personal trainer 2 - 3x a week from Feb to Oct
  • cooked a lot more for my partner and I (partly because we were living in a place we couldn't afford)
  • read a heck of a lot more than I had for some time
  • continued with this blog, to the point I'm closing in on 100 posts
  • started volunteering with SlutWalk Toronto in a more official capacity
  • got back into volunteering on the crisis line for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/ Multicultural Women Against Rape
Looking back, that's a pretty good start. I've got a lot to be proud of accomplishing so far, and a solid groundwork to start off from going into this next year.

With all that in mind, my 2013 resolutions are:
  • Keep working out on my own without the aid of a personal trainer. This is a huge hurdle because I am so easily demotivated and distracted. But, I refuse to let all the progress from working out with the trainer be lost, so I've got to make this happen. I feel better when I'm more active, it keeps repetitive stress injuries at bay, and it has kick-started my body into craving more healthy foods. I've even started eating (and craving) salads again. That's right, salads! 
  • Get my Server+ certification. I want to keep improving my IT skills and get more certs (I've got my A+, Network+ and Security+ at the moment), so 2013 is the year I've decided I'm getting that one. I've already got the study materials, I just need to get work to pay for my test and then pass it with my delicious, beautiful brain.
  • Keep the blog as a tool to sort out my thoughts, entertain myself, and create stuff I want to share, not as another excuse to stress myself out. I'm not getting paid to blog, so I've made it a point to not feel guilty if I only post once a month or can't muster up the energy to respond to every single timely issue. I won't be posting any updates apologizing for absences or begging my readers to forgive me for having a life and not making blogging a priority.
  • Participate in (and finish) 3DNC and NaNoWriMo
  • Don't wait until the Labor Day to start writing
  • Spend less time on the computer. 
  • Go vegan for real-real, not for play-play
  • Get married without falling further, hopelessly into debt.
  • Keep volunteering, but be careful not to over-extend myself until I burn out.
Sounds reasonable. Let's see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Humourless Feminists Comedy Night

Since my last post was about the unfunnyocity of rape jokes, it feels appropriate to ring in the new year by plugging an upcoming comedy night called, "The Humourless Feminists Comedy Show".

SlutWalk Toronto is kicking off 2013 by hosting a feminist comedy show, with all proceeds going to support the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/ Multicultural Women Against Rape.


Details from the event page:

Because humour can exist without rape jokes and some of Toronto's best comedic talent is going to prove it!

Starring (talent list not finalized):
  • Natalie Norman
  • Ben Beauchemin
  • Derek Forgie
  • Christina Walkinshaw
  • Steph Tolev
  • Bobby Knauf
  • Amanada Brooke Perrin
Thanks to the hard work of local Comedian Natalie Norman, who took initiative to organize a comedy show to support anti-sexual violence action and survivors in Toronto, we’re inviting you to a comedy night packed with Toronto talent.

We know many people involved in feminism and fighting oppression are told that we take things ‘too seriously’, and often have our perspectives minimized with stereotypes, like that of the ‘Humourless Feminist’. We also know the value of creating alternative, safer spaces where communities can connect by challenging labels and gathering together.

This will be like any other comedy night, but with proceeds going to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape, and with no rape jokes, or other cheap-shot oppressive humour.

And sometimes, we really just need to laugh.

So come and join us!

$10 suggested donation (proceeds to TRCC/MWAR, so please dig deeper if you can!) or PWYC if that’s too steep for you.

The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. West, Doors at 7, Show at 8

*Unfortunately, this venue is not fully accessible. We apologize and we hope to find a venue that is in the future if we host more shows.

Whaaaaa? A comedy event where patrons don't need to worry about being threatened with gang rape? How novel! I'll be there, and I hope all my millions of faithful readers will join me in having a fun, relaxing, awesome evening. By golly, I think we've earned it.