Yes means yes; No means NO. Whether it’s tea or sex: Consent IS everything.
That’s the message Thames Valley Police has successfully sent across the world using a simple, funny yet effective video, created by Rachel Brian at Blue Seat Studios and scripted by Emmeline May at rockstardinosaupirateprincess.com. Although it was launched by Thames Valley Police last year as part of the #ConsentIsEverything campaign, the video is going viral now in the wake of the horrific events at Stanford.
The nearly three-minute long video, which uses animated stick figures and a cup of tea as an analogy for sex, has been shared by more than 1 million and watched by over 52 million Facebook users to date. On YouTube alone, more than 2 million users have viewed the tongue-in-cheek yet somber video that aims to raise awareness and understanding of sexual consent – what it means and how to get it.
In the beginning of the video, the narrator explains:
“If you’re still struggling, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea. You say “hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they go “OMG fuck yes, I would fucking LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!*” then you know they want a cup of tea.
“If you say “hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they um and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it then – this is the important bit – don’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the tea on the off-chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it.
“If they say “No thank you” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea, don’t make them drink tea, don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, ok?
“They might say “Yes please, that’s kind of you” and then when the tea arrives they actually don’t want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to boil that kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s ok for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it even though you went to the trouble of making it.
“If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and can’t answer the question “do you want tea” because they are unconscious.”
This is awesome. Watch this. Sexual consent explained in terms of making a cup of tea. Seriously. Watch.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 10, 2016
Towards the end, the viewers are asked:
“If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t want tea, and you are able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex?”
The Stanford Rape Case:
Former Stanford University swimmer 20-year-old Brock Turner has been given six months behind bars for three counts of sexual assault against an unconscious and intoxicated University of California graduate behind a garbage bin on the evening of January 17, 2015. The case is propelled into the international spotlight after the victim read a 12-page powerful letter in the court, addressing Turner directly. Excerpts:
“You said, Being drunk I just couldn’t make the best decisions and neither could she.
“Alcohol is not an excuse. Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked… We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That’s the difference.
“Lastly you said, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life.
“A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect… Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
Turner’s light jail sentence and his victim’s account have reignited a debate about the understanding of sexual consent. What’s your take?
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