Workshop on Consent

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

At the 23rd of February, Wonda Women organised a workshop on consent to rethink consent, personal space and articulating boundaries. The workshop was given by Stichting Consent Matters and partially funded by the municipality of Amsterdam. We met at Sportscentrum Universum where the workshop took place in its sports hall.

Before starting the workshop, Wonda Women gave a short introduction on why we wanted to organise this workshop. That is, when experiencing a situation where somebody crosses our boundaries, we'd either feel completely silent and try to smile it away (I) or we'd get super fierce and uncontrollably anger (II). Yet regardless of which reaction, we experienced it to be very difficult to shake it off and therefore carry this feeling with us that somebody crossed our boundary for the rest of the day. Additionally, the word 'consent' has had a prominent place in the #MeToo movement, but what is consent actually? Time to rethink consent!

Although the following points do not completely capture the full workshop - we did a lot of exercises and learned a lot of tools to draw boundaries - we like to share the following insights with everybody!

  • If you feel guilty when drawing a boundary, remember that you are not the only one! You are worthy of listening to what you feel comfortable with or what you want to do. Sometimes a 'no' to somebody else, means a 'yes' to yourself!

  • Consent is personal development, it is something you can learn to do and especially something we can learn a lot from each other on how to deal with certain situations!

  • You can take away your consent at any time, no matter how often you gave your consent in the same situation.

  • Consent can also be a tool for you to find out what the other person wants. When you want to make sure that another person is not doing something they'd rather not. The consent of the other will make you feel better!

  • You can learn a lot from the boundaries of others by trying to read and be aware of non-verbal responses. But remember: do not assume, but ask questions instead. For instance, how comfortable are you doing this from 0-10?

  • Consent is not black and white, but instead a very grey area. It can change in any context and with every person.

And last but definitely not least:

  • No is a full sentence. A simple no is enough, a justification or an apology for saying no is not necessary!

All in all, the workshop was inspirational, informative and bounding. A big shout-out to all those participating and of course Leonie Der Kinderen who gave the workshop!

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