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Consent always required

Dear Editor:[The Kobe Bryant case] is not about injury or sexual history or drug use or personality. It’s about only one thing – consent. Did she give him permission to have sexual contact with her? Without her permission, any sexual contact is sexual assault. It’s rape. It’s that simple.And now, more than a year later, and only after charges have been dropped, do we finally hear the confession that is long overdue. To quote the defendant, “I do not question the motives of this young woman … I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered … I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.” She says she did not consent; the defendant knows that she did not consent. End of debate.The problem is that the defendant waited 14 months (and until he was no longer a defendant) to acknowledge that she did not give him permission. To prevent sexual assaults like this one, we need to insist that consent is thought about prior to contact, not after the assault. We need to make sure that we all understand that to have consent you need to do four things: (1) ask for permission; (2) from someone, who at the time, is capable of granting consent; (3) with adequate disclosures; and (4) without coercion. Then and only then do you have consent. Then and only then will our communities be safe from sexual violence.Scott HamptonThe Consexuality ProjectDover, NH


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