Campus Wellness

What is the difference between consent and coercion?

 

Mutually Consenting Touch

This is a way to explore sexuality in a safe and caring manner. It is how people learn what feels good to them and how to do things like kiss and be intimate. They learn how to tell a partner what they do like and what they don't like. It works best when the two people like, trust, and care about each other.

Persuasion and Consent

This is when one person isn't sure about trying something... and the other person wants to. It is common for individuals to disagree, but they must be willing to take "no" for an answer. Individuals need to be able to reach a decision that both participants feel good about in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Unfair Pressure and Touch 

This is the start of exploitation, one person using the other. Someone might give in to sex if offered presents, dates, or status.  A person might make promises he/she doesn’t intend to keep to try to put sexual pressure on someone else.  A person might beg and plead, or they might touch without asking. In the media, this type of behavior is often rewarded with the pursuer getting what they want. In real life, this is not consent and it is not acceptable behavior.

Sexual Coercion

This usually involves some kind of threat, such as: "If you don't, I'll..

...find someone else who will."

...tell everyone you did anyway."

...break up with you."

...hurt you/your family/your friends."

Threats may be subtle or blatant, but they are all a type of force and intimidation. This is not consent.

Sexual Harassment

This includes pinching, grabbing, touching, staring, sexual joking or comments and can happen in the workplace, at school, or even at home. The behavior or words can feel like an attack because the victim doesn't have the chance or choice to say "yes" or "no." Making someone feel fearful is not funny - it's harassment.