A new campaign will tell NSW people planning to have sex to “check consent every time” as a new law comes into effect.
The new Affirmative Consent Act was passed last November and will apply from June 1.
It requires sexual partners to take active steps to ensure the other person is on board.
The new rules mean that a person cannot reasonably believe that another person wants to have sex without doing or saying something to make sure that is the case.
A series of video ads will take the message home, with couples pausing in a steamy situation to ask for permission.
Camera icon The NSW government has launched an advertising campaign to inform people about the new consent requirement. Credit: Included
“Do you want to continue?” a man asks a woman in one of the advertisements at a house party with purple lighting and deep bass in the background.
“No, let’s go back to the party,” the woman replies.
The ads come about a year after former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was widely ridiculed for rolling out a “confusing” consent ad using milkshake as a metaphor for sex.
“Drink it!” the woman in the ad was heard to say, smearing cream on her male partner’s face as an analogy for consensual sex.
Camera icon ‘Drink it!’: The federal government’s infamous ‘milkshake ad’ was removed just one day after launch. Credit: Included
The Morrison government was relentlessly mocked for the $3.7 million ad and ended the video just one day after it was launched.
Rape survivors advocates were more positive about the new NSW campaign.
“This is a really powerful campaign that I think will have a huge impact,” said survivor advocate Saxon Mullins, director of the Rape & Sexual Assault Research & Advocacy organization.
Teach Us Consent Movement founder Chanel Contos said the ad campaign would highlight the “dynamic ways” consent can be sought.
“It’s great to have examples of what ‘yes’ looks like, and more importantly, what ‘no’ looks like and how you can react when you notice someone is uncomfortable or check that they are,” said Ms. account.
Camera IconNSW Attorney General Mark Speakman addressed reporters and the survivors’ attorney Saxon Mullins. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman said the six months that have passed since the law reform was necessary to enable police and courts to understand and implement it.
“These reforms make it clear that if you want to have sexual activity with someone, he or she has to do or say something to give consent, or you have to do or say something to get consent,” he said.
“These reforms are not just about addressing perpetrators, but about changing social behavior.”
An online fact sheet on the new rule explains that consent to sex must be communicated on an ongoing basis and specifically.
Consent can also be withdrawn at any time, meaning the other person must stop the sexual activity if that happens.
There are also situations where people cannot freely choose to have sex, even if they are heavily influenced by drugs or alcohol, unconscious or threatened.
The website also advises asking for permission immediately, checking in, and paying attention to body language.
“Look at body language and nonverbal cues to make sure they’re comfortable,” the fact sheet says.
“Just because someone doesn’t say no, doesn’t mean they say yes.”
Hayley Foster, director of the rape crisis center Full Stop Australia, said the number of survivors seeking help had increased by 28 percent in the past 12 months.
Given the campaign and the new law, she expected more people to ask for help.
“We will see more people seeking help as a result of this campaign, and we need to make sure the services are properly funded,” she said.