Who We Are

Consent in the City is the Sussex Campaign for better understanding of what consent means in relationships.

We want to create a public debate about what consent means for all of us.

Too often we hear consent being about “giving permission”. Consent as we understand it, ethically and legally, means being free to say no and wanting to say “yes”.

It can be verbal and non verbal, it can be many things but one thing it always is is freely given.

Join us to help shape our city’s understanding of this essential concept.


To ban or not to ban…

There has been some great coverage of feminist campaigns around sexual consent this week. We’ve been featured in the local press and even in the Independent ( http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/domestic-violence-activists-want-you-to-boycott-fifty-shades–lyuTemIk2l). The debate seems to centre around whether the film and the books should be boycotted, with calls for the money that would have gone to cinemas coming instead to support services such as the ones behind this campaign.

We don’t want to get involved in a boycott, we’re not about telling people what they should and shouldn’t think, in our view that wouldn’t be modelling very good consent. What we want to do is encourage people to think about what sexual consent is in their lives, what it means to them to give active consent, how they know they are doing it.

We know that the grey area that comes from consent is often found in the gap between what consent means in theory and what consent means in practice. We’ve tried to give a range of sexual encounters so that readers can see where they think that consent works and where the sex isn’t agreed and is abusive. We see from the range presented that consent is very rarely a 100% verbal transaction. Consent is about more than just words, it’s about attitude, body language, relational dynamics and lastly about words.

You’ll find lots out there at the moment about consent, 50 Shades of Grey and the feminist response. We’ve listed some of our favourites here. Share your thoughts on the comment blog below, as ever we encourage you to think about what they are presenting and how it fits with your life and your understanding.  Oh and if you do want to make a donation please do so via our justgiving pages…  https://www.justgiving.com/riseuk/ and/or http://www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk/content/donations

Check out these stories for a range of views on the issues of domestic abuse, consent and fifty shades of grey…



Girl with the most cake

What does it mean to use the problematic aspects of BDSM as a way to explore real power and real pain? Can images be recontextualized through words? What does self-exposure really entail? How are sex positive and sex negative feminists allied against certain kinds of sex and certain kinds of work?

This is an interesting article courtesy of Alison Phipps. Thanks for sharing. Add your thoughts below…


CPS Charging Changes highlight need for better understanding about Sexual Consent

Director for Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders;

“For too long society has blamed rape victims for confusing the issue of consent – by drinking or dressing provocatively for example – but it is not they who are confused, it is society itself and we must challenge that. Consent to sexual activity is not a grey area – in law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely.

“It is not a crime to drink, but it is a crime for a rapist to target someone who is no longer capable of consenting to sex though drink. These tools take us well beyond the old saying “no means no” – it is now well established that many rape victims freeze rather than fight as a protective and coping mechanism. We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue – how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?”

We were on Radio Sussex this morning 9:45 talking about sexual consent and the campaign – listen in again here;  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02gwxkp

Can there be such a thing as ethical porn?

This was a great spot by Jess – a guardian article on the possibility of fair trade porn? Makes the point about commodification and objectification and consent within that really well. This is the type of conversation we’re hoping to pick up at the #ConsentEvent on the 14/02 at the Old Courtroom. Why not come along and see what our panellists think…