Feeling a little rusty about how to foster consent at a festival? The Bass Coast Harm Reduction Team is here to help. Here is the Bass Coast mini-guide to the most consensual festival yet.
First-up: Consent is not just for sex.
Embodying consent makes it a practice that extends to everyone in your life - friends, lovers, the people who are camped next door, and the strangers you are sharing the dance floor with. It is a way of interacting with one another that prioritizes safety and autonomy.
It's more than yes or no!
You may have been taught that yes means yes or no means no - which is not wrong, but it's also just the beginning. Practicing consent in your daily life calls on you to pay attention to the body language, social dynamics and power structures, that often accompany words. If someone says “yes” under force or pressure, or while they body language says something different, pause - reflect- and check-in.
Sometimes people don't seek out an explicit “yes” because they are scared to hear a “no.”
This is a very risky way to navigate consent. Explicit, affirmative, ongoing consent is your cute that everything you are offering is wanted, and then you don't have to guess. It’s like a road map for the journey!
Being good at consent includes being a safe person to say no to.
If someone tells you they are not interested, thank them for trusting you with their boundary, and move forward with grace.
Consent has always been important at events, but as we remain in a pandemic, it is even more important than ever.
Hold an awareness of how much space you are taking up and ask before doing anything that puts you in someone else’s personal space, especially when it comes to hugs and touch.
An informed, affirmative, engaged yes is the only thing that is consent.
A costume, a lack of clothing, accepting drinks or dancing with someone is not consenting to anything else. Acting sexual or showing desire are not the same thing as giving consent.
Consent culture is community care.
If your friends or campmates are making it weird (not the good kind of weird) care about them enough to have a chat with them. If you see someone struggling with moving through the weekend with care for others, please let any of our harm reduction team know.
Click here to explore all Harm Reduction services at Bass Coast and follow @bass_coast_safe_coast for Harm Reduction tips.