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“Sexual consent: it’s as simple as tea” Watch this innovative anti-rape campaign

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A short video adopted by the police for a new rape awareness campaign takes an innovative approach to educating people about acceptable codes of sexual conduct.

The video, used by the Thames Valley Police for their #ConsentIsEverything campaign, compares sexual consent to the act of offering someone a cup of tea.

The video, which uses a funny analogy to approach a serious topic, highlights how if you can understand that forcing someone to drink tea is “ludicrous” then it should be easy to understand when people don’t want sex.  

It features voiced-over hand-drawn stick-figures drinking cups of tea, and starts by saying:

“If you’re still struggling with consent, just imagine that instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea.”

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It then goes into describing different scenarios in which people might or might not want tea- from the simple declaration of ‘no’, to other scenarios, such as people simply changing their minds, saying:

“They might say ‘yes please, that’s kind of you’, and then when the tea arrives they actually don’t’ want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to all of the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea.

“They did want tea. Now they don’t. Some people change their mind in the time it takes to boil the kettle, brew the tea and add the milk. And it’s ok for people to change their mind. And you are still not entitled to watch them drink it,” it says.

Or scenarios where a person is unconscious:

“And if they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don't want tea and they can't answer the question 'do you want tea?' because they are unconscious."

The video ends with the comparison:

“If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don’t’ want tea, and you are able to understand when people don’t want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex. Whether it’s tea or sex, consent is everything.”

The video was created earlier this year by Blue Seat Studios and Blogger, Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, who discussed the issues in a blog post entitled "Consent: not actually that complicated". Thames Valley Police said they have used the video, because an understanding of sexual consent is ‘vital’.

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Fletcher says: “The law is very clear. Sex without consent is rape. Awareness of what sexual consent means and how to get it is vital.”

The regional co-director of Rape Crisis, Christina Diamandopoulos, told the BBC that “for too long there have been myths around the subject of consent, particularly that it is a 'grey' area”.

“In reality it has never been a 'grey' area, and this campaign, which we are proud to be part of, makes that clear,” she says. 

If you need to speak to someone about consent, contact Rape Crisis England.

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