Understanding Consent: A Basic Right for All

Image Credit: Sumeet Raiphale for UNFPA

Consent is a fundamental right for everyone to control their own bodies. Sadly, many people are denied this right because of their race, sex, age, ability, or sexual orientation. They can’t say no to sex, choose their partner, or decide when to have kids.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), says that when women and girls have the power to make choices about their bodies, it’s not just about being in charge; it also leads to better health, education, income, and safety. This benefits everyone.

Here are five important things to know about consent:

1. Consent is a Human Right: It’s about being able to make choices about your body, like healthcare and sex. It’s linked to the right to live free from unwanted physical acts.

2. Denying Consent Leads to Problems: When people can’t give or deny consent, it raises the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These infections cause many health problems.

3. Consent Goes Beyond Sex: Having control over your body means making life decisions. Some people, especially girls, face forced marriages, violence, and harmful practices due to a lack of choice.

4. Vulnerable People Need Protection: Young people with disabilities, especially girls, are more likely to face violence, including sexual abuse.

5. Impact on Well-being: Gender-based violence hurts physical and mental health. It leads to injuries, unwanted pregnancies, STIs, and emotional problems.

UNFPA works with others to stop gender-based violence and promote consent. Together, we can prevent this crisis and support those who say, “enough!”

Re-reported from the article originally published in UNFPA

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