Building on last week’s topic of boundary setting, consent is the result of setting specific boundaries. To give consent means to give approval of something. Not limited to intimacy, consent can be given in all aspects of life. It’s important that we always ask for consent when requesting something of another.
Consent revolves around power over one’s own body. This can be sexual, medical, and even organizational. We know that with sex, each party should be vocalizing their consent before initiating intercourse. Consenting and asking for consent are all about setting your personal boundaries and respecting those of your partner. Both people must agree to sex — every single time — for it to be consensual.
In terms of doctor and patient relationships, consent should always be given by the patient. When medical care or treatment is provided, medical practitioners are required in many situations to obtain a patient's informed consent. A physician must tell a patient all of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, medical procedure, or other course of treatment, and must obtain the patient's written consent to proceed. It makes sense - we should have the right to choose what happens to our body and health.
From an organizational perspective, consent can be given for companies to access personal data. In this new age of technology, personal information is a valuable product that many companies are after. Whether it be as a consumer or an employee, releasing personal information must come after receiving consent. Many companies like Facebook and Google have received backlash for collecting and selling personal data without users’ consent. This caused many, including me, to stop using these platforms.
No matter the situation, being denied consent is extremely harmful and offensive. It’s as if we’re being robbed and violated of our basic human rights. If you’re not sure if a situation calls for consent, ask anyway - it never hurts to ask.