Consent is a clear and simple concept, and the idea that people misunderstand consent is a myth. So why does sexual violence happen? In our rape-prone culture, people don’t take consent seriously. Think about terms like “tease” or “playing hard-to-get.” Phrases like this reflect that our society often treats consent as a joke, and that “no” just means “try harder.”
But consent isn’t a game, and it isn’t funny. Ignoring someone saying or implying “no” is an act of violence. Disregarding consent is about gaining power over another person. It’s about hurting another person. It’s about controlling another person.