Want an easy way to talk with your kids about “consent?” This engaging cartoon explains consent in terms every child can readily understand. Don’t worry, it’s not about sex! It’s about the simple things kids encounter everyday. It’s perfect for kids aged 6 through 12.
It took me 4 years to write my first book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. I published it in 2013. That means I began the process of trying to straighten out society’s understanding and laws on rape ten years ago. In those ten years, I’ve probably seen every definition of assent, acquiescence and consent that exists in the English language, right, wrong, and in between.
And I’ve recognized that society has a knee jerk reaction to considering non-violent sexual assaults as “rape.” I’ve learned not to split hairs over semantics; particularly because sexual assaults that are non-violent should be considered a lesser offense than violent sexual assaults. But all sexual assaults, whether violent or non-violent, should be covered by penal code because every victim who is sexually assaulted is defiled, whether or not violence was used against them.
Except for the misunderstandings that lump assent, consent, and acquiescence all together as synonyms – which they’re not – you’ll see that assent is a superficial type of agreement. Anyone who nods their head and says “yes” is assenting.
In 1946, an American military tribunal conducted military, criminal proceedings against 23 German medical professionals for their crimes against the human race. They had cooperated in or conducted ghoulish experiments using live humans during World War II. The Nuremberg trials, as they were known, gave voice to Nuremberg Code which guides medical experiments throughout the US. Nuremberg Code identifies that even a child, who has not yet reached the age of reason, can assent. Simply saying “yes” is assenting,
Nuremberg Code also tells us that saying yes when you have all the facts, are capable of reason, and are not being pressured, is “consenting.” Nuremberg Code requires the subject of a medical experiment to “consent.” If that subject is a child, their agreement could only be considered as “assent.” In order to conduct such an experiment, the child would have to sign an “assent” form. The parent or legal guardian would sign a “consent” form.
When a person acquiesces, they are assenting. But not everyone who assents is acquiescing. They could be agreeing but not because of fear. Acquiescence is agreement under duress, (fear/pressure.) You could also say that acquiescing is assenting under duress. But as Nuremberg Code points out, a person who consents must do so of their own free will. So a person who is pressured by fear to assent is not consenting. They are acquiescing.
In legal discussion regarding contracts, your assent can be nullified if the basic facts by which you assented were misrepresented (fraud). Although you agreed on the face of the information you were given, your assent is vitiated. Since you were not knowledgeable and informed, although you assented, you did not consent.
Why are these differences important?
We need for society to understand the difference between various types of agreement in crystal clear, simple terms. Our law makers are clear that we need “consent” to engage in sex. But they are clear as mud, and frequently incorrect, about what consent actually is.
In practice, from coast to coast, what is not expressly prohibited under the law is permissible: therefore, until we express that “nonconsensual sex is sexual assault, and consent is freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement” in our laws, all instances in which a specific defiling act takes place without a specific penal code prohibition, that conduct cannot be prosecuted.
Several states say your “words and overt actions” are consent. Nope, if your words and overt actions result from force, duress, or deception, they are absolutely not consent. “No” means no, but “yes” only means yes when it’s not induced by force, duress, or deception. Only in rare cases do our laws uphold this principle.
As I’ve struggled with the process of motivating legislators to deal with this issue, I’ve seen that their interest in ignoring deception is deliberate. It’s far too consistent to be otherwise. Model Penal Code’s description, “Consent is ineffective if induced by force, duress or deception,” is too widely known for the omission of deception to be seen as simply an oversight or not relevant.
Our law makers have been truly callous to the harm a person suffers when they are tricked into sex, and they envision that these cases will “clog up our courts.” The fact that the victim’s self determination over their reproductive organs has been violated is irrelevant to them. The end result; however, is that their failure to identify what consent really means feeds the rape mentality that harms sexual assault victims all across the spectrum.
What can be done about it?
#MeToo and #TimesUp have identified that sexual assault is rampant, but even their efforts fail to reach to the core of the problem. Correctly defining consent in our laws would guide behavior and hold sexual predators, who prey on people for sexual contact in a myriad of ways, accountable.
Very few states correctly identify the relationship between assent and consent. Missouri is one of them. Missouri. 556.061 (14) states: “Assent does not constitute consent if (c.) It is induced by force, duress or deception.”
Why not? Because consent is freely given (not forced or coerced (duress)), knowledgeable and informed (not deceived) agreement. #FGKIA!
Yet when it came to prosecuting Mario Antoine, who tricked over 30 victims into sex, the SVU Prosecutor in Kansas City MO, Jill Icenhower, failed to prosecute.
Here’s Nuremberg Code:
“The person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge as to enable him (or her) to make an understanding and enlightened decision.”
The solution for holding all sexual assault offenders accountable is for our laws to recognize that all –
Nonconsensual sex is sexual assault – and
Consent is Freely Given, Knowledgeable and Informed Agreement – #FGKIA!
This isn’t rocket science. It’s just plain common sense! Call your legislator and demand that they enact this new, consent-based language to prohibit all forms of sexual assault into the laws of your state, today!
Help to adopt appropriate laws to conquer sexual assault today! Read Your Consent and send it to your legislators.
The American Law Institute (ALI) created Model Penal Code (MPC) back in 1962. It’s goal was to standardize penal code throughout the US. Many states have adopted parts of its language including their definition for “consent.” You can see whether their definition was applied when you read your state’s statutes. Each state “picks” and “chooses” the portions of MPC they chose to adopt.
In three separate studies, one in the Midwest, one in CA and one in Canada, separated by 30 years, men were asked, “If you could force a woman to have sex with you, and you knew you wouldn’t get caught, would you do it.?” Consistently, over 30% of the participants said “Yes.” Then they were asked, “If you could rape a woman, knowing you could get away with it, would you do it?” The number of “Yes” responses dropped to approximately 13%. Obviously, 17% of the participants had no idea they were simply being asked the same question a different way.
Why so many words for “rape?”
Today, states have adopted a variety of words for “rape” in order to get the defilement of non-consensual sex across to their populations…. sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual misconduct, etc. They seem to be throwing the baby out with the bath water; however, because the public doesn’t grasp that it’s all the same horrid defilement of sexual sanctity….. just using different words. I even saw a recent argument that Brock Turner didn’t rape the woman, he “only” sexually assaulted her….. so his punishment shouldn’t be so harsh!
Consent. Do we really need to say more?
The principle premise for all sex crimes, no matter what you call them, is lack of consent. And a great many folks don’t really know what “consent” means. It doesn’t mean that you nodded your head and said “yes” when someone tricked you into doing so. Nor does it mean that you didn’t object because you were too incapacitated at the time, or froze because you were terrorized.
Most folks, including legislators and police officers don’t clearly understand that there’s a cavernous gap between “assenting” and “consenting” to sex. When you nod you head, “yes,” if the person has tricked you, drugged you, intoxicated you, or pursued sex with you upon finding you in those conditions – or unconscious – they know full well that you’re not “consenting” to sex.
Violence is an aggressive, aggravated form of rape, which deserves the utmost penalty. But there are quiet, insidious, covert forms of rape as well. All should be punished. Consent means that you are fully knowledgeable, informed and voluntarily cooperating. Model Penal Code distinctly tells us that consent that is “tricked” from us is not “voluntary.” Any sex act performed without consent is a crime.
Not all sex crimes can be prosecuted; not because they didn’t happen, but because there is insufficient proof for a conviction. But whether there is or is not a sufficient body of proof to try the case, the offender committed a criminal act and knows that they did so. Our penal codes in every state should be consistent in dealing with and prosecuting sexual defilement.
Nazi Germany and Consent
The Nuremberg Trials from World War II gave us a clear understanding of what “consent” truly means. I have included the explanation in (soon-to-be-released) Combating Romance Scams, Why Lying to Get Laid Is a Crime!What follows is how “consent” should be explained by the penal codes of every state. This explanation has been adapted directly from the Nuremberg Code appearing in Federal regulation that was established due to medical experiments conducted on concentration camp prisoners. It guides our knowledge of both “assent” and “consent” today.
Assent – Superficial agreement which is given “on the face of it.” Assent provides acquiescence and compliance, but lacks the characteristics of being informed and knowledgeable about the action taking place. Example:, a child who is not yet the age of “reason” can only provide “assent,” but their parents are required to provide “consent” on their behalf. Consent – A person providing consent must have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the sexual partner and action taking place to enable her or him to make an understood and enlightened decision.
Brock Turner’s father showed us exactly why Brock Turner is a sex offender!
Dan Turner, Brock’s father, never taught his son the defilement of rape because he failed to understand it himself. He wrote to the judge to request leniency for his son who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
His minimization of the harm the victim endured in his statement that his son shouldn’t have to go to prison “for 20 minutes of action,” reflects a grossly flawed misconception about the impacts of violating a person’s sexual sanctity.
He also stated: “He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015.” Somehow, in Mr. Turner’s eyes, violence is the only harm one person can inflict on another. Defiling a person by touching their genitals without their permission is inconsequential to him. I wonder what he’d say if this happened to his daughter.
An absurd statement also came from Brock Turner’s long-time friend, Leslie Rasmussen, drummer for the band, Good English. “Rape on campus isn’t always because people are rapists,” she said. She expressed concern that alcohol changed people’s behaviors and made them do things they otherwise would not do. Perhaps Brock Turner’s case can serve as a warning to college students who think drinking and partying are benign behaviors…. just fun and “normal” entertainment.
When it comes to sex, every human being on the planet is responsible to only engage with people they haven’t tricked, overwhelmed, or taken advantage of. What is so hard to understand about that? People who do so are, in fact, rapists. A person’s life can change in an instant when they lose control of themselves and harm others while in that condition. That’s why drunks who kill people in DUIs go to jail. People who rape in that condition should go to jail as well.