Why Sexual Consent is a Basic Right

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Choosing who to have sex with and who not to have sex with, is a basic right. Unless both people agree to it, it is not sex, it’s rape. This agreement is called consent.
It is also your right to choose when to have sex. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex with someone before, if you don’t want to have sex at a particular time, you are not obliged to, and no one should tell you that you are. Agreeing to have sex with someone once, or several times, does not mean you have agreed to have sex with them forever or whenever they want to, unless you want to as well. If you agree to have sex with someone and then change your mind or want to stop and they continue, this is also rape.
Often, people think of rape as something that is done by a stranger, late at night on a dark street or in a public place. This is not always true and many people who are raped know the person who does it. It is possible to be raped by someone you know and it is possible to be raped in a safe and familiar space such as your home.
Rape can occur within marriage. By agreeing to marry someone you are not agreeing that they have control over you and your body. Your body still belongs to you and you have rights over it, such as the right to choose when to have sex.
The victim is never to blame for rape, although sadly many people think that this is the case. Some people think that if women wear tight and revealing clothing, go out late at night, drink alcohol or act in a certain way they are giving out a message to men that they want to have sex and that therefore it is their fault if they are raped. This is not true. You are only agreeing to have sex with someone if you make it clear that it is what you want.
Likewise, it is not true that you cannot be raped if you are a prostitute. Making money from having sex with people does not mean that you cannot also choose when to have sex and with whom. Being a prostitute does not mean you always want to have sex and don’t mind who it is with.
Being raped is not something to be ashamed of. If you are raped you have not done anything wrong, the person who raped you has.
Sex is more fun, more comfortable and safer when both people want it and have agreed to it. It is your body and your choice and if you don’t want to have sex, it is your right to say no.
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KATE JELLY

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