We-Consent, The App Which Records “Proof” Of Mutual Consent, Misses The Point
I’m a big believer in enthusiastic consent. I’m only down to fuck people who are clearly down to fuck me, either because they have communicated that verbally or with indisputable consenting body language. I expect my partners to be similarly attentive to my words and body language, and what those cues say about my desire. Should a potential partner have any question whatsoever about whether I want to have sex or not, I expect them to ask and I am happy to clarify. Contrary to what you may have read, these exchanges don’t have to be, and really shouldn’t be, a mood killer. I, for one, am turned on by enthusiastic consent — asking for it and giving it, yes, but also clarifying that I have it and reinforcing that I am giving it even after the sex has started. The fluid nature of consent — the fact that it can be given in one moment and taken back in the next — makes these exchanges necessary. Consent is not one of those things where you can safely say, “There’s an app for that!”
And yet, there is. We-Consent – an umbrella brand that also includes the sister apps What-About-No and Changed Mind – aims “to encourage discussion about affirmative consent between mutual partners” by recording a 20 second video of consent being given/received. According to the website, the videos would be made “available only to law enforcement, upon judicial order, or as evidence in a college or university sexual assault disciplinary proceeding.” Its creator, businessman Michael Lissack — yes, a dude — said he created the apps because he felt “there had to be a better way” to ensure that both people had given consent to sex. He told the Institute of Higher Education that the target audience for the apps were college students, specifically those involved in athletic programs. “Who seems to be mostly involved with scandals? Athletic teams and fraternities,” he said.
Hmm. Let’s cut the shit, dude. Basically, We-Consent is an app that can be used by people who are fearful of being accused of sexual assault to “prove” that they received consent at some point before having sex with the person in question. You know, that way when that bitch comes out and says she was raped, you can be all, “Naw bro, she said yes! Look, I recorded it on my iPhone!”
So far, Apple has only approved the “What About No” app (similar in concept, only it’s used when “a No message does not get through to the other person” – UHHH); they rejected We-Consent, saying it was “icky.”
I completely agree. There are so many issues with the whole trio of apps, but We-Consent is especially troublesome. For starters, it has seemingly been created in support of the false narrative which says that women lie about being raped all the time, and thus men need to be protected from bogus accusations. Nothing could be further from the truth. False rape accusations, while they do happen, are exceedingly rare and while men certainly need to be able to defend themselves, a 20-second video recorded with a phone app should hardly count as rock solid proof of innocence. After all, consent, once given, is NOT locked in stone, and pushing the idea that the “consent discussion” is over once someone has said “Yes,” is downright dangerous.
A person has every right to consent to sex and then change their mind later. Hell, a person has every right to consent to sex with someone once, twice, 10 times, 100 times, actually have sex with them once, twice, 10 times, 100 times, and then rescind consent in the future. Just because someone said “Yes” does not bar them from then saying “No.” I do not understand how the We-Consent apps do anything useful when it comes to educating people on enthusiastic consent. If anything, I suspect it actually adds an additional technological layer that further disconnects potential sexual partners from each other’s actual desires.
Seriously, people, specifically DUDES, is it really so hard to know for sure if the person you’re having sex with wants to be there? Is it really so difficult to ASK in the event you have even the tiniest drop of doubt? And is really so hard NOT to have sex if that doubt persists? Or is covering your ass all that matters?