Consent is a loaded word, isn’t it? Post the #MeToo movement, we have finally begun to give it the attention it deserves. Due to this, many of us are aware that ‘no means no applies’ to consent aka permission in the context of sex. But is that all it is? I believe ‘no means no’ applies to every single thing in life. Especially in Indian society, where forceful behavior is the norm. For eg:
A is invited to B’s house for dinner. During the meal, B keeps forcing A to “eat some more” even when A has expressly said no because they are full. The result? A leaves B’s place feeling nauseous and bloated.
That doesn’t sound serious, but this is only a tame example. It escalates from here to more concerning matters like career choices, marriage, childbirth, etc. Decisions are often forced by parents onto their kids by the art of wearing them down so much that they say yes.
Of course, consent is more complicated than a simple yes or no, but that’s a topic for another day. For now, can we all please normalize the application of consent to everything? Because ‘no means no’ is not just about sex.