COVID-19: Altering our Views on Consent


On the time of penning this, we’ve spent the higher a part of a 12 months in a pandemic that has impacted each considered one of us in a technique or one other – some extra considerably than others. 

One of many greatest issues that has modified in our each day lives is how we work together with different individuals. 

With out entry to the traditional methods we transfer by means of society, and meet our wants for socializing, we’ve discovered to not solely turn into resourceful, however develop clearer language round boundaries and luxury ranges. 

Due to the inherent threat of socializing throughout a pandemic, consent has turn into a daily a part of many individuals’s days. 

Whereas anybody could also be vulnerable to the virus, individuals who have compromised immune methods, or who commonly have contact with immunocompromised individuals, need to be that rather more conscientious about interacting with different individuals, and that a lot clearer on their boundaries. 

COVID and Consent

Relying in your tradition, chances are you’ll not have thought twice about hugging an previous pal, and even somebody you’ve simply met. Perhaps you commonly smooch individuals on the cheeks or lips as a greeting. Maybe you’ll solely go so far as a handshake and aren’t essentially the most sensitive particular person. Irrespective of the place you fall on the spectrum, COVID-19 has displaced that, and known as for a better tradition of consent. 

It’s like a clumsy dance attempting to determine whether or not or not sure social behaviors are acceptable – nevertheless, that is the idea of consent. The concept we don’t know what another person’s consolation ranges are except we ask.

Consent tradition relies on mutual respect and clear communication. 

Consent throughout COVID is not only about respecting individuals’s boundaries (though that’s all the time essential), for many individuals it truly is a matter of life or demise. 

Whether or not or not you knew somebody beforehand, this degree of consciousness may also help you gauge somebody’s degree of understanding for individuals’s totally different consolation ranges concerning the virus based mostly on how they do that dance.

It’s now a mark of not solely respect however social intelligence when somebody clearly discusses bodily contact, whether or not that be a hug or simply being in the identical neighborhood as somebody exterior of their family.

The Layers of Consent

COVID has requested us to reevaluate how we navigate consent even amongst individuals we already had established norms with. 

When planning, it’s not only a matter of whether or not or not you need to spend time with somebody (or vice versa), you even have to debate whether or not or not it’s in particular person or digital. If you’re assembly in particular person, will it’s exterior? Will you each put on masks? Will you keep six ft aside? If not, will you hug? Cuddle? Share meals?

Whereas this may increasingly appear tedious (though many people have gotten used to it at this level), it goes to indicate the capability that we now have for navigating consent and honoring not solely different individuals’s boundaries however our personal.

We see this consent carried out in our personal little “quaranpods”, or teams of individuals you select to have shut contact with. For these utilizing this technique, which means having an ongoing dialogue with the individuals in your pod about anybody else chances are you’ll be seeing, anyplace exterior of your property chances are you’ll be going to, and some other behaviors which will doubtlessly put them at better threat. 

This apply in communication can be seen in our relationship lives. For individuals attempting to date throughout quarantine, an increasing number of new connections are being made on-line. Individuals could also be taking longer to get to know somebody just about earlier than assembly in particular person – if in any respect.

Informal intercourse isn’t as commonplace because it as soon as was, and discussing COVID with a brand new sexual associate can look equally to the way you focus on STIs. “Have you ever been examined just lately? Have you ever been with anybody else? What security precautions have you ever been taking?”

If something, this may also help weed out individuals who might not be best for you, based mostly on how a lot they respect your boundaries surrounding not solely intercourse, however COVID as effectively. 

Ask, Ask, Ask

Whereas a devastating international pandemic is definitely not essential to deepen the dialog round consent, that’s one lesson we will extract from this expertise as an entire. 

For those who’re uncertain of somebody’s boundaries round bodily contact – ASK! That’s the primary option to get a gauge on work together with somebody, and the place to attract the road.

The extra comfy you get with discussing boundaries and consent, the simpler it turns into. You then begin to see the need of it in lots of different areas of life, and begin asking your self an increasing number of how your habits might impression different individuals, and how one can change that.

Keep in mind, consent is rooted in respect and clear communication.



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