Asking For It: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent

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    • 00:13

      DR. HARRY BROD: I am Harry Brod.We are here to talk about the ethics of sexual consent.So to start to talk about the ethics of sexual consent,I would assume a sort of shared bottom line among us, a sharedunderstanding that no means no and yes means yes.But as I just said, that would be an assumption.

    • 00:36

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: And I am by both professional trainingand personal temperament a philosopher.That's my background.So the name of the game in philosophyis to question assumptions.So I actually want to check this out with you,and see if we agree.Now if you haven't taken a philosophy class before,

    • 00:57

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: here's the way it sometimes works.Sometimes someone says something thatsounds perfectly good as a general principle.And people are ready to nod their heads and go onand all is well.And then someone says, wait a minute.I can think of an example where this thing thatsounds pretty good generally, wouldn't work.

    • 01:18

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I can think of a counter example, a particular setof circumstances where this thing that generallysounds good, doesn't apply.And in philosophy, we don't say, go away, you bother me,it's good enough.In philosophy, we say excellent, good job.This is a creative use of your intellect and imagination.

    • 01:38

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: You have come up with a circumstancein which the general principle doesn't apply.So now we've got to backup and refine our languageand take account of the set of circumstancesyou have come up with.This is a good thing.This is an advance in knowledge and understanding.So in this genuine spirit of inquiry,

    • 01:59

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I'm not asking trick questions, I want to ask you,I said two things.We're going to separate them.I'm going to start with the idea that yes means yes.Can you think of any possible cases,and I'm not even asking you to definitely sign onto something.I'm just asking you, can you think of cases where maybe,

    • 02:24

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: in this particular set of circumstances,yes might not mean yes, where you would say that yes,I'm not sure we should really count that as yes.What do you come up with?Examples.

    • 02:40

      SPEAKER 1: Any situation where the personisn't in their right mind.

    • 02:43

      DR. HARRY BROD: Any situation where the person's notin their right mind.You want to say one more sentence, what you mean?

    • 02:49

      SPEAKER 1: Drunk, retarded, not awareof what's going on in some way.

    • 02:54

      DR. HARRY BROD: Drunk, not full mental capacity, alcohol,drugs, like too much caffeine, I'm all wired of something.

    • 03:03

      SPEAKER 1: Or someone who feels pressured.

    • 03:06

      DR. HARRY BROD: I am neither agreeing or disagreeingwith anything anyone says at this point.I'll give you my views shortly.My agenda here is to where are the issues.Where are the questions.Good, thank you.Yes.

    • 03:18

      SPEAKER 2: Women in our society are oftensocialized to be pleasurers, to give people what they want,to be caregivers.They're also socialized to think that if they begina sexual attraction with someone,the need to finish it or else they will be a teaseor they will be seen as somehow leading someone on.They will cause physical pain, which is a myth.

    • 03:40

      DR. HARRY BROD: Got it.Pressure, coercion, all sorts of things like that.Good.Thank you.What else?

    • 03:47

      SPEAKER 3: A situation where theremay be an age difference that comesinto play, like a someone much olderor in some position of power, especiallyif the person in question is under age.

    • 04:00

      DR. HARRY BROD: Ah, you said several things.You said age difference, position of power.That's a different thing.And then you said, even if not age difference, under age.We have what we call the age of consent.And if someone is below that, we don'tcare who said what, we're not going to count that as consent.Good, good, excellent.

    • 04:21

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: What else we got?

    • 04:22

      SPEAKER 4: A situation in which someone doesn't reallyunderstand the terms and conditionsthat they're agreeing to.So the yes comes out as yes but they don't really understand,

    • 04:33

      DR. HARRY BROD: Someone doesn't understandthe terms and conditions of what they've agreed to.We have this phrase informed consent,do we not, that comes up in all sorts of contexts.You need to be clear what it is you have consented to.Excellent, excellent.Thank you.Anything else where yes might not mean yes?

    • 04:56

      SPEAKER 5: Even what yes might be,might not be completely clear.I mean there's saying yes and being asked,but then there's also someone thinking that yes is,oh, they're not saying no.The act of not saying no is sometimes interpreted as, oh,that must mean yes.

    • 05:15

      DR. HARRY BROD: Good.Some of you are way ahead of me.I'll get there.OK.Good.What else?I want to get the questions on the table.You'll hear my views shortly.I'm not endorsing or rejecting anything at this point.Where are the issues?

    • 05:30

      SPEAKER 6: Basically, if someone says yes,but they're just saying yes because everyone else isdoing it.

    • 05:36

      DR. HARRY BROD: OK, thank you.We ready to switch?OK.No means no.Any possible where maybe, just maybe,not asking you to definitely endorse,where maybe that no might not really mean no.Anybody got anything?

    • 05:56

      SPEAKER 7: In role playing.

    • 05:58

      DR. HARRY BROD: Role play, is that what you said?Role play.

    • 06:01

      SPEAKER 8: A lot of the time, when people say no, theymay be looking to have their hands forced.

    • 06:06

      DR. HARRY BROD: They may be--

    • 06:07

      SPEAKER 8: --looking to have their hands forced.

    • 06:09

      DR. HARRY BROD: Looking to have their hand forcedis what you said.

    • 06:13

      SPEAKER 9: Also in cultural understandingsof certain protocol or what no means, so uncertain timeslike, for example, in certain cultures,if you are offered food, you say no a couple timesand then finally come to yes.And so if there are different understandings between people.There is just a discrepancy between whatthat no means or could lead to.

    • 06:29

      DR. HARRY BROD: Different cultural norms.OK.I've gotten some really creative responses.People have said, hypnotism.If you don't know the English language.Someone once said, conjoined twins.I have gotten very creative responses.Yes, what have you got?

    • 06:49

      SPEAKER 10: Yeah, a lot of men are under the presumptionthat no means try harder.

    • 06:54

      DR. HARRY BROD: Ah, no means try harder.Thank you.And I understand you didn't the endorse that.You just said a lot of men might think.I heard you.Got it.As interested as I was and am in your answers to thosequestions, I'm even more interested in your answerto the next question.What if there's no no and no yes?

    • 07:17

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Nothing asked, nothing answered.What's in place, yes or no?I'll ask the same question in different ways.What's the default mode?Red light, green light?If nothing is said, what's in place,go, stop, yes, no, whatever your-- red light, green light,

    • 07:38

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: whatever your metaphor is.What's your answer to that question?

    • 07:41

      SPEAKER 11: A lot of times peoplego off of body language when there's not a no or a yes.They feed off of how the person's reacting to them.

    • 07:48

      DR. HARRY BROD: Body language.Hold that thought.What's in place when nothing's said,nothing asked, nothing answered.

    • 07:58

      SPEAKER 12: What you asked, if people aren't actuallyyes or no, stop or go.I think naturally, people want to keep going.If there's no communication, it's just implied that--

    • 08:09

      DR. HARRY BROD: People do, some people do indeed,want to keep going.My question is, are we endorsing that as a matterof the ethical standards we believewe should hold each other to?What do you believe should be the norm for our interactionswith each other?What standard for behavior do you endorse?

    • 08:28

      SPEAKER 12: I would endorse a stop behavior, whereyou should talk things over before anything actuallyhappens.

    • 08:33

      DR. HARRY BROD: So for you, default mode is no.

    • 08:35

      SPEAKER 12: Yes.

    • 08:36

      DR. HARRY BROD: Unless there's-- OK.

    • 08:37

      SPEAKER 12: I think that in our culture a no, a no responseis a yes, but in terms of consent, it should be a no.

    • 08:45

      DR. HARRY BROD: So you think, in fact,people think what's in place is go ahead.But the standard should be no.OK.Thank you.

    • 08:53

      SPEAKER 13: I think in the absence of communication,it's nearly impossible to say one way or the other.But if asked the question, without an answer,it's always no.

    • 09:04

      DR. HARRY BROD: OK.I'm not going to give you my answerto this last question, my answer.And this is the viewpoint I'm going to recommend to you.The only thing that's yes is yes.Just because there's no no, that doesn't mean there's a yes.In order for it to be yes, there has to be something said.

    • 09:28

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: A consent has to be created.Now there's a name for my view.It's called the affirmative consent standard.For there to be consent, there must be some affirmation.Consent must be created.When I think of this, I think of somethingmy Driver's Ed teacher said to me when

    • 09:51

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I was learning to drive a car.Now I took Driver's ED when I was 17.I'm now 59.So this has stayed with me for a considerable number of years.We were discussing the principle of the right of way,and my driver's Ed teacher said, the right of wayis not something you have.

    • 10:13

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: The right of way is something the other driver gives you.And if the other driver doesn't give it to you,you don't have it, no matter whatyou think the rules of the road are supposed to beor what you think you're entitled to.And if people really understood that,

    • 10:34

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: there would be a lot fewer tragic collisions on the roads.Consent is like that.Consent is not something you have.Consent is something the other person has to give you.And if the other person doesn't give it to you,you don't have it, no matter whatyou think the rules are supposed to be,

    • 10:55

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: or what you think you're entitled to.That's the affirmative consent standard.Now here's my sort of bottom linefor endorsing that and recommending it to you.Often in philosophy, the way to decide on one positionis to see there's a fork in the road,and what happens if we take the other view.

    • 11:18

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: If you don't have the affirmative consent standard,you are saying that what's in place is green light, go ahead.If you don't have the affirmative consent standard,you are endorsing a world in which other people have rightof access to your body without expressly asking you

    • 11:42

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: for permission to have that access.That's what you are saying if you don't endorsean affirmative consent standard, if you say the default mode isgo ahead until somebody stops me until there's a stop.I think if we really think about it,no one is really willing to live in a world like that.

    • 12:05

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I don't think any of us would reallyendorse the lack of an affirmative consent standardif we really understood what's at stake.So that's my bottom line here.Now I'm going to spell out some other implications,some other aspects of this.I said consent has to be created,something has to be said.

    • 12:25

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Someone raised the issue of body language.I'm going to hold out for the standard, what's requiredis explicit verbal consent.That's the standard I'm going to hold out for.The danger in body language is that it's just

    • 12:46

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: too easily misinterpreted.And if you misinterpret, if you get it wrong,if you're reading someone's body languageand you think you have consent when you really don't, weneed to start using language of directly talkingabout what we're talking about.We're talking about sexual assault.

    • 13:09

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: We're talking about rape.I am not accusing people of intentionally misinterpreting.So these are situations where emotionsare running high, things maybe getting hot and heavy.It may be too easy to read in a misinterpretation

    • 13:30

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: of the signals.In all good faith, I really thought.It's just too dangerous.I was on an airplane recently and before we take off,the flight attendant's voice comes over the speaker systemand says, those of you in the exit rowswill be required to indicate that youare willing and able to render assistance

    • 13:51

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: in the event of an emergency.And this time I happened to be sitting behind the exit row.And I watched as the flight attendant came upto the people in the exit row, and asked each one in turn,are you willing and able to render assistancean event of emergency?And the flight attendants said, I

    • 14:11

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: will need a verbal yes from you.And if you sat there and could betrying to nod your head up and down all day, going,yeah, yeah, yeah, that was not sufficient.If you were not willing to give explicit verbal consent,you would be kindly and gently escortedto a different seat on the airplane,

    • 14:32

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and someone else would be seated therewho was willing to give explicit verbal consent.Now if that's the safety standardthat we seem as a society to have agreed upon, and let'sbe clear, we're talking about a very rare circumstancethat any of that is ever going to matter.And again, talking about what we're really talking about,

    • 14:53

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: we're talking about basically a planecrash where not everyone dies right away.And there's an issue of, can you render assistance.If, in that remote possibility, weseem to have decided we need explicit verbal consent, that'sthe safety standard, I see no reasonto accept less of a safety standard

    • 15:13

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: in these situations, which are much more common.And if we get the wrong, we're talkingabout sexual assault or rape.So I will hold out for explicit verbal consent.Now I am aware that there are some cases wherebody language really can't be reasonably misinterpreted.

    • 15:35

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I do understand that.I'm aware of it.But those cases are far fewer and further between than mostof us would like to think, than some of us would like to think.I want to hold out for explicit verbal consent.We standardly make a distinction between words and actions.

    • 15:55

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Freedom of speech, you can say whatever you want,but actions are restricted.It's a clear line, separation of words versus actions.Yet they are exceptions.There is, for example, a legal doctrine of fighting words.There are certain words that if I throw at you,particularly racial slurs would be the classic example.

    • 16:16

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: The law recognizes that that's like striking the first blow.That's the person who-- with kids, who started the fight?Who threw the first punch?That's the equivalent.So in a very limited number of rare cases,we recognize it is possible to cross the line between words

    • 16:36

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and actions, that there are some words, fighting words, thatare like actions.So there are some actions that are crystal clear enoughthat can, I understand, function as words.But I will insist those need to be crystal clear,completely unambiguous action before I

    • 16:56

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: am going to say body language has signalled consent.In fact, the body language that I'm willing to say clearlyunambiguously signals consent, has to be so assertive,that I start to worry, maybe we've crossed the line.Maybe it's the other we need to worry about,the other person's consent to this person's initiation.

    • 17:17

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I'm going to hold out for body language hasto be that clear before we say this counts as consent.So that's my standard.It's the ethical standard I hold out for you.So let me again-- I'm trying to develop further principles thatcome from the affirmative consent standard.I'll use a fancy term from philosophy

    • 17:38

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and then I'll explain what it means.One of the core fields of philosophyis the field of epistemology.Epistemology is a fancy word for the theory of knowledge.Epistemological questions are questions about,how do you know?What does it mean to know?What is the nature of knowledge?That's the field, epistemological questions,

    • 17:60

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: questions about knowledge.So some philosophers talk about epistemological responsibilityor epistemic responsibility, for short, simplythe responsibility to know.There are all sorts of situationswhere society attributes to me a responsibilityto know something.

    • 18:21

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Suppose I'm driving along the highwayand I'm stopped for speeding.I will confess this has happened to me.I'm stopped.The police officer comes over and says,do you know the speed limit here?Do you know how fast you were going?And if I honestly say, no, Officer.I didn't know.The police officer doesn't say, well, you didn't know,

    • 18:42

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: so we can't hold you responsible.Have a nice day.Sorry for interrupting your trip.It doesn't work that way.I am held responsible for having this knowledge,whether in fact, I had it or not.We will hold me accountable.Someone wishing to initiate sexual activity

    • 19:03

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: has the epistemological responsibilityto obtain knowledge that you had consent.Not just I thought, it seemed, I believed, it sure looked like.What steps did you take to obtain knowledge?

    • 19:23

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: We assign epistemological responsibility for consentto the person who wishes to initiate sexual activity.Now, say there is some accusation of assault or rapeon a college campus or in any setting.And typically we have an inquiry.We want to know what happened in the case

    • 19:43

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: where two people are telling different stories.And typically, we will separate the two peopleand, what happened?Tell us your version.Now these principles are gender neutral.You will notice I've talked about one person wishingto initiate a sexual activity and the other personthen responding to that initiation.

    • 20:06

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Genders could go either way, male female, female male,two males, two females.Could be more than two.I don't want inhibit anybody's sexual practices.It's not my business.Whatever it is, the principles are the same.However, most of the cases where we run into problems

    • 20:27

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: are he she.And we can talk about why that is if you wish.But most of problematic cases are he initiatingand she responding.So for ease of communication, and because thoseare most of the problematic cases that come up,I'm going to switch to that terminology.I'm going to allow myself that gendered terminology of he

    • 20:48

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: initiating and she responding.I'm going to use that language and you'reinvited to either internally translate or raise a questionlater and we'll go over it, because the principles aregender neutral.In application, we usually find it this way.So suppose there's an accusation of sexual assault or rapeand we're now interrogating the young man.

    • 21:10

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: We ask him, tell us what happened.And he starts to talk about, she didn't resist,she didn't object, she didn't, she didn't, shedidn't, or however the genders are.We're going to stop you.You're not answering the question.We're not talking about what she did or didn't do.We're talking about what did you do,

    • 21:32

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: what actions did you take to fulfillyour affirmative responsibility to have obtained knowledgethat you had sexual consent.And if all you can talk about is the other person,they didn't, they didn't, they didn't, and youcan't answer the question of whatdid you do, what questions did you

    • 21:53

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: ask, what answer did you get, then what did you dowith that information, then what happened?If you can't tell us what you didto have fulfilled your epistemological responsibilityto have obtained knowledge that you had sexual consent,then you have a problem.

    • 22:13

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: You have a serious problem.That's the perspective of the affirmative consent standard.Further implications.Let me throw out another principle for you.No act confers consent to any other act.Consent must be given anew with each level of sexual intimacy.

    • 22:38

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Now I understand there are grey areas.I understand that we might differas to exactly what constitutes a new level of intimacy.A hand one inch more there, or one inch another way,one more button undone, one less, Iunderstand there are gray areas.But nonetheless, there is general agreement.

    • 23:01

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: It's interesting how often sports metaphors come upin this context.There is a general terminology, slang,of getting to first base or second baseor third base or home run, whatever the slang is,we might differ on the specifics,but there's a general working sense

    • 23:23

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: of what we're talking about.So I'll use that general sense.Suppose you don't have an affirmative consent standard.And again, I'll use a he she example.There equally well could be other examples.So suppose she wants to be at second base, whatever

    • 23:44

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: that means.If he is not operating, if we are notoperating on an affirmative consentstandard at each new level, then being on first basehas already conferred permission to try for second.Because the default is green light.The default is go.

    • 24:04

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: So if she wants to hold up at second, whatever that means,she actually has to hold up at first.Because otherwise we're going to second anyway.He thinks he's entitled.In the absence of an affirmative consent standard,if we're on first base, he assumes we're going to second.His only question will be rounding second

    • 24:25

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and heading to third.So in the absence of an affirmative consent standard,they are always two bases apart.If they want to meet at second, in my example,actually pulling in opposite directions.If sexuality is in any sense about communication, about

    • 24:46

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: mutuality, about intimacy, connection,coming together in any sense, thenin the absence of an affirmative consent standard,you never have it.You never have the two people in the same placeat the same time.Therefore, in the absence of affirmative consent standard,

    • 25:07

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: you can't really have a fully erotic experience.And what I often say to heterosexual young men is,you may be surprised.If you are actually able to communicate,we are not going to do anything for which we do nothave explicit verbal consent, she

    • 25:30

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: may, maybe for the first time, feel the freedomto be as erotic as she wishes to be in this safetythat we're not going to go further than I wish to.Now, I don't promote the affirmative consent standardbecause it's going to lead to hotter sex.

    • 25:52

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: That would be a peculiar position for meto put myself in.I promote this standard because of safety and justiceand equality and that's the bottom line.Nonetheless, I do want to emphasizethat the anti-sexual assault message is notan anti-sex message.

    • 26:13

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: In fact, it may for the first timepromote an eroticism because it can promote safetyin erotic situations that you don't have if you don't havean affirmative consent standard.Those of us who do sexual assault prevention education,I think have really missed the boat,

    • 26:35

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: have allowed the anti-sexual assault messageto be hijacked by an anti-sex message.And therefore people don't listen and they tune it out.That's why I emphasize that this is not justthe ethics of sexual consent, thisis the erotics of sexual consent.

    • 26:56

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: This is at least potentially a pro-erotic position.It is a position that allows for sexual expressionbecause it creates the safety in which one can express oneselfwithout worrying one is going to be pulled someplace one doesn'twant to go.I also tell heterosexual young men

    • 27:17

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: to be prepared not to be believed,because you are asking her to violateevery practice of safety that she has had to learn.But if you can build a trusting relationshipwhere there is actually the trust that we will notdo anything that is not mutually explicitly agreed to,

    • 27:40

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: people may find themselves quite surprised.And again, not because it will lead to hotter sex,but I think, in fact, it at least can.And we are doing ourselves a disservicein trying to prevent sexual assault if we do not emphasizethat because it's been so-- the anti-sexual assault message hasbeen so consistently misheard as an anti-sex message.

    • 28:01

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: And that is really not what it's about.There is another concern about explicit verbal consent beinganti-sex, the idea that we're going to ruin the mood,have to stop.Things are going well so far, why--

    • 28:24

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: First of all, how could you not want this informationthat your partner's as willing as you?Or don't you want to be sure that youare fully willing in what you are doing?How could you not be as interested in your partner'swishes?But I understand if you're not used to asking,

    • 28:44

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: it can be awkward and clumsy.And I understand that awkwardness is not sexy.I mean, I get it.I I get it.I mean, sometimes it can be endearing and charmingand all that, but that's usually not what we're going for.I get it.But it doesn't have to be clumsy and awkward.You can play with it.Do you think it might be OK if I kissed you sometime

    • 29:08

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: in the next hour and a half?I don't know what they'll say.They might say yes.They might say no.They might say check back in 45 minutes.I don't know what will happen.I know what won't happen if we follow these basic principles

    • 29:29

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: of ethical conduct with each other.There won't to be a sexual assault or rape that evening.And that's what I care about.And that's what you should care about.That's the perspective I'm putting before you.Now the issue of alcohol and drugscame up earlier in the conversation.And I want to explicitly address that because I

    • 29:51

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: know that often this is where we get into problems.When there is sexual activity and there is alcohol and drugsinvolved.And again, I'm aiming myself that wheremost of the problematic situations are.And most of that is first encounter situations.If you're in a standing relationship,I understand dynamics can change.

    • 30:15

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I do think at some point there needsto be an explicit affirmation.But people can give each other sortof standing permission of access.We've known each other long enough.The permission can always be revoked.It's not standing in that sense, but is permissible for peopleto say to each other, you don't need to ask every time.

    • 30:36

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: In fact surprise me, I might like it.I understand this might be a different dynamic.To address directly the issues of alcohol,specifically, in first encounters,I'm going to again turn to a driving analogy.If I get into an accident on the road, I am drunk driving

    • 30:58

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and I hit another car.And again, a police officer comes over and says,what happened?And I say, well, Officer, I was drunk.This does not help my case.In fact, it makes it worse.Neither does it help my case if the other driver was also

    • 31:19

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: drunk.That's a separate conversation.Talk to them later.We're not talking to you about that now.We're talking about your responsibilityto have the capacity to manage a dangerous vehicleand we're not going to let you on the road.The offense of drunk driving does not

    • 31:39

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: occur when I have the accident.The offense of drunk driving occurswhen I start to operate the car and I am not of sound mindand body, able to safely operate this dangerous vehicle whichI am bringing into the proximity of other personswho can be put in danger by my inability to control

    • 32:00

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: this dangerous vehicle that I'm driving around.The specifics vary from state to state.I know in at least some states, youcan be picked up for drunk drivingif you're drunk sitting behind the wheel with the car offand the keys in your pocket.At that point, you have made yourselfa danger to the rest of us and wewon't permit you to be out there.

    • 32:22

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: So, the offense of being drunk and not in control of your bodyoccurs well before the actual accidentof your body or your car.I'm going to move to that analogy.If you have been driving while drunk,and you haven't injured or killed anybody yet,

    • 32:46

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: that doesn't mean you've been a safe driver.It just means that you and everybody around youhave been lucky so far.If you have been initiating sexual activity whenyou have been too drunk or high to know if you have consent,then you have not been a safe sexual partner.

    • 33:09

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: If you have not assaulted or raped anybody yet,you've just been lucky so far.So here's the bottom line.Never mind the other person.We can talk more about that.If you have been initiating sexual activity whenyou are too drunk or high to know if you have consent

    • 33:33

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: and somebody asks you or you ask yourself, have you eversexually assaulted or raped someone,the only honest answer you can give is, I don't know.Because by definition, you don't know.

    • 33:54

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: If you have been initiating sexual activity whenyou are too drunk or high to know if you had consent,then you don't know if you have sexually assaulted or rapedsomeone.Now that is hard to take on board.I'm aware of it.We'd like to think of ourselves that we can clearly,

    • 34:16

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: unambiguously answer a resounding no to this question,have you sexually assaulted or raped someone.How dare you even ask such a question?I am not out to blame or shame anyone.In fact, as I was thinking this through for myself,I tried to avoid the conclusion, I justarticulated, because it's a bitter pill to swallow.

    • 34:37

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I couldn't figure out a way around it.I started with my basic definitionI gave you, the affirmative consent standard.Consent must become conferred by an explicit act.I spelled out the implications ofthat epistemological responsibility.The initiator has a responsibilityto know if you have obtained consent.

    • 35:00

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: And if you are in a position whereyou don't know if you have consent,then we're talking about non-consensual sexand you don't know if you have assaulted or raped someone.As far as I can figure out, that just follows.From basic concept, I don't see any way around it.

    • 35:21

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: So I put this out to you as a challenge.When we see, and again, let me go particularlyto where we most often, and not exclusively, have the problems.If I-- I speak personally as a male, I see another male drunk,about to go off with what looks like a sexual conquest,

    • 35:46

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: instead of congratulating him, my obligation to my classmate,teammate, fraternity brother, coworker, friend, simply personwith whom I share the planet, my obligationis to pull them aside and say, you don't want to do this.

    • 36:07

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: You don't want to wake up next morningnot knowing, for the rest of your life,if you have sexually assault or raped someone.Why on earth would I wish this on someonethat I consider friend, teammate, classmate,fraternity brother, simply co-inhabitant of the planet.I'm aware this requires a change in the culture of masculinity,

    • 36:29

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: in the culture of our society.There are all sorts of terms that young menuse for each other that are unflattering for men whoblock another man's sexual conquest in this way.I'm aware that this requires cultural change.It is eminently doable.

    • 36:51

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: Everyone who's here gets the message, talks to a few people.Every one of those people talks to a few people.It is possible to change the culture of the campus.It is possible to change the culture of the society,to actually make society safer for all of usin sexual situations.I do not believe that all's fair in love and war.

    • 37:12

      DR. HARRY BROD [continued]: I do not believe we check our ethical selves at the doorwhen we enter the bedroom or the board room or the battlefieldor whatever it is.I believe we live with ethical integrityeverywhere, all the time.And that is the challenge with which I leave you.And I thank you for your attention.

Asking For It: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent

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In this lecture Harry Brod discusses sexual consent. Highlighted is the differences between yes and no, the creation of consent, and drugs and alcohol. Learn the ethics of sexual consent and how to distinguish the differences between sexual assault and consent, with verbal confirmation.

Asking For It: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent

In this lecture Harry Brod discusses sexual consent. Highlighted is the differences between yes and no, the creation of consent, and drugs and alcohol. Learn the ethics of sexual consent and how to distinguish the differences between sexual assault and consent, with verbal confirmation.

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