A Reflection About Consent and Social Action
Updated: Jan 7
After almost a month after experiencing Good Night Out ( GNO) training, I have been wondering what my new knowledge would mean for me and how I can put this into action. Good Night Out is a collective that promotes consent and a safer nightlife community. They do so by providing resources and training workshops, which I was very grateful to attend. Coming from a social science-driven degree, I assumed my mindfulness of others and consent was exactly where it needed to be. However, I still came out of GNO with questions about who I am as a person, what I value in my day to day relationships and how I would use this learning.
What I reflected on has two major themes: relationships and social justice
Experiencing GNO's training was a gift of knowledge, and applying consent goes so much further than parties. It requires courage and boundary-making many of us were not taught to do. The results of that upbringing impact how we treat all people in our lives and how we carry ourselves in our day to day living. Much of how we connect with other people is formed based on the choices we make and questions we ask each other to better understand those around us. In 2019 we live in an era where our relationships are not always clear and “going steady” is not the way it used to be. Ghosting, one night stands, fear of rejection and always having options due to dating apps has completely changed the way relationships progress. So now add this approach to relationship building skills there becomes issues making boundaries and expressing emotions ( unless you’re a rock star at boundaries, then good on you!).
If we can practice consent within our close interpersonal relationships, I leave the questions of how this can then help promote safer consent encounters with new people? What happens if we practice saying how we feel or desire more regularly to prepare healthier connections? What occurs when we seek to make boundaries and respect them within our known relationships? Perhaps this can prepare our boundary making when meeting new people?
This then leads to social justice and action related to consent. As someone who works in the social science field, I, fortunately, know how important context is in all social situations at both an interpersonal relationship and a systemic level. However, this is a privilege. This knowledge is not something known by everyone. The fact that consent knowledge and practice is not widely understood also relates to call-out culture and how that is beginning to divide many of us. If knowledge is a gift/privilege that sparks change in many of us to be better, why do we keep it for ourselves and exile those who don’t understand rather than sharing it? If we take the time to call people in to inspire changed behaviour, maybe we can build a consent culture more often than not. We may encourage accountability for our own change and the change we wish to see in our environments - away from rape culture. Our allyship would go deeper than fighting and look further into creating the social change we all deserve.
Much of these things have been floating around in my brain, and I hope to inspire you to reflect on your consent understanding, calling one another in to learn, connections and being the change you wish to see in our community.