Sexual Rights series: The right to protect and to be protected
The third sexual right is the right to protect and to be protected.
The right to protect and to be protected means that everyone has the right to bodily integrity. Everyone has the right to be protected against sexual violence and gendered violence and to receive help and support if they have encountered sexual violence.
Consent is at the core of this right. Consent is needed in all sexual acts. Consent means that those who take part in sex have a common understanding of what kind of sexual acts will be performed if they are performed. Every sexual action requires consent. Sex without consent is violence. For example, it is important to remember that if a person is ready to kiss, the does not mean that they are ready to take off their clothes.
Interaction is the most important factor for ensuring consent and for creating a safe and enjoyable environment. It is important to ask, tell, listen and respect one’s own boundaries and those of others. You can ask for consent with questions such as ‘can I kiss you’. Does this feel good? Can I touch you? What do you like?
It is worth remembering that the use of condom during sex is also a key part of the realisation of this right. Taking a condom off in the middle of intercourse without the consent of the other person is wrong and violates the sexual rights of the other person.
Everyone has the right to set their own boundaries and the obligation to respect the sexual boundaries of others and their desires and wishes related to these. If you have encountered sexual violence, know that you are not alone. Seek help and discuss it with a professional.