Are Consent Apps a Good Thing

In season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kimmy goes to a school party for the primary time, and a boy asks her to signal a settlement before they’re about to kiss. Consent has emerged as more broadly mentioned on university campuses. However, there’s nonetheless numerous confusion on the subject.

Talking approximately support in university is important: 1 in 5 college ladies revel in sexual attacks, and most assaults move unreported, in line with the New York Times. In 2014, the Obama administration launched a list of fifty-five schools and universities under research for dealing with sexual assault court cases.

In reaction, many schools commenced adopting affirmative consent policies, which means that consent is to be voluntarily granted by using all people undertaking an act. In other phrases, colleges adopt a “sure means yes” policy rather than “no approach no.” With these new definitions of consent, many college students are fearful of accusations of sexual assault even as others are involved approximately being sufferers of it.

How Consent Apps Work

Sadie is an app where humans can consent to sexual acts with a settlement. You open the app with your partner, examine and signal a contract, take images of your IDs, and save the agreement with a password. This may seem atypical. However, it aims to foster dialogue about sex and to inspire affirmative consent on college campuses. James Martin, a representative from Sadie, explains:

The agreement in our app says, in essence, that each student agrees to admire the continuing nuances of each different’s consent and that they agree to gain and supply affirmative consent from every other on an ongoing foundation, follow their faculty’s affirmative consent guidelines while conducting their courting, and talk with their other companion the second one that consent changes. The parties agree that when that consent changes, they’ll terminate the settlement with the other birthday celebration using our termination button to quit the territory.


The employer Empowering Victims has created a trio of apps designed to be used as communique starters within the ongoing debate over consent: We-Consent (which has customers document videos of themselves consenting), What-About-No (which has users show their partners a video of a police officer telling them “no” at the same time as being recorded), and I’ve-Been-Violated (which has people report video and audio of themselves to “gather proof” after an attack happens). These apps aren’t supposed for practical use—alternatively, they provoke dialogue.

“What we have as an aim is to foster surroundings and set of behaviors where assumptions aren’t made, but as an alternative, there’s a communication among the possible partners,” stated Michael Lissack, Executive Director of Empowering Victims. “The goal of [our apps] is to encourage and ‘nudge’ such dialogue into taking place.”

The Problems With Consent Apps

Apps that ask you to document consent, like Sadie, may be deceptive instead of beneficial in constructing know-how of affirmative consent manner. And in line with Jaclyn Friedman, author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Sexual Power, even the communication beginning Empowering Victims apps are wrong-headed.

“I’m excited about fostering talk approximately consent — it’s a big part of my task— however, these apps are fostering a wrong and threatening verbal exchange, one that posits consent as irrevocable as soon as given, and applying to any, and all intercourse acts someone may want to pressure on you after you’ve consented to ‘intercourse’ as an idea,” says Friedman. “Pushing that idea is riskier than not speaking about consent in any respect.”

There’s also the opportunity that someone is probably coerced into giving consent at the apps (since there isn’t any way of proving this in any other case). The documentation may want to be misused as a defense in sexual assault cases. Consent apps additionally put a variety of obligations on people to make it clear while retreating their consent. Friedman says:

Juries tend to search for any motive to disbelieve sufferers, and ‘they didn’t say any/combat hard sufficient’ is one of the most, not unusual reasons. In reality, sufferers often freeze up and say nothing. Under this well-known, participants are not resare not responsible for the beingartner’s body language or participation ranges. If their partner has consented to something and then freezes up or disassociates and is simply lying there, it’s cool to preserve doing anything to them in line with this settlement. This is barbaric, and it’s now not how affirmative consent works.

It should be stated that consent apps aren’t customary on college campuses. “When I speak with college students approximately them, frequently I need to explain what I’m even talking about,” says Friedman. “They don’t seem that pervasive, and I hope they in no way come to be so.” An advance model of this publish evaluated apps created using Empowering Victims on their stated objectives instead of their intent to foster communique and misnamed the agency that created them.


Jeremy D. Mena
Alcohol geek. Future teen idol. Web practitioner. Problem solver. Certified bacon guru. Spent 2002-2009 researching plush toys in Miami, FL. Won several awards for exporting tar in Libya. Uniquely-equipped for managing human growth hormone in Libya. Spent a weekend implementing fried chicken on the black market. Spoke at an international conference about working on carnival rides in Miami, FL. Developed several new methods for donating jack-in-the-boxes in Edison, NJ.