On Sunday, the OUUC Youth Group will offer the monthly Q&A session on the topic of “consent culture.” I am grateful that the OUUC youth are willing to bring this important topic to our congregation. I hope you will attend to support them and perhaps learn something new.
I know the youth will offer a more thorough explanation on Sunday. To help us get ready, here is a brief description of consent culture from The Denton County Friends of the Family in Texas:
Consent culture is a culture which normalizes the action of asking for consent and respecting whatever responses are given. It affirms that each individual has bodily autonomy and maintains that boundaries (a person’s right to choose what is comfortable to them) should be respected unconditionally.
While consent is an important topic in sexuality education and sexual assault prevention, it is applicable to all parts of life and especially important now. The global pandemic has made us more aware of how we interact with others, what risks we are willing to assume, and how to be with others whose health risks and risk tolerance are different from ours.
I know that in my life, setting up a meeting or get-together now includes asking whether the participants are comfortable in-person or prefer online, if masks will be expected, or distancing. It means asking in advance and coming to an agreement that everyone involved can live with. We are each invited to say what we are comfortable with for our bodies and families, and we each honor what others want. This practice is a good one that is in alignment with Unitarian Universalist value of each person’s inherent worth and dignity. We’re already practicing it and I hope we will continue as we move toward gathering in person once again.
Bodily autonomy is a complex issue now around the issue of vaccines. I won’t try to get into that here, just note that any decision we make is in relationship with others. If our right to bodily autonomy impacts someone else’s right to health and safety, then we must take that into consideration. We don’t ever make decisions in a vacuum.
I hope to see you on Sunday.
Blessings on your week.