Consent is not a matter which preys on the mind of our kind much at all. This is driven by the following factors: –
- Our sense of entitlement. We do as we please, how we please, when we please and with whom we please. We are access all areas;
- Our inability to recognise and respect boundaries. This links with our sense of entitlement whereby nobody is off limits to us. Somebody is in a relationship? So what, they are fair game to us. That seat is taken. Yes, it is, by us. That drink was meant for somebody else? Tough. We invade personal space, take things which are not ours, commandeer other people’s resources and act as if we own the place because in our minds, we do.
- You are part of us. You are subsumed within us, attached to us and since you are a part of us, why on earth do we need to ask ourselves for permission to do something? That is nonsensical from our perspective.
- We are unaccountable. Even if we actually thought that we might need consent it does not matter because the consequence arising from failing to obtain consent to do something will not apply to us. We are able to escape blame, evade liability and shirk culpability.
- Our sense of superiority. Consent is a chain. It restricts and hinders. We are the behemoth that strides ever forward and as such consent does not apply to a titan like us. Consent is what the little people have to obtain.
This attitude to consent means that we behave like a marauding invader. Everything is up for grabs. How might this manifest?
With the Lesser it is blatant and obvious. He will tell you that he is moving in with you and turn up with his suitcase and guitar (with broken string) and smile as he breezes past you into the house. Your resources are taken – money, food, energy – without any explanation offered. Your friends are seized either to be shoved to one aside and told what the Lesser really thinks of them, or flirted with and identified for triangulation potential. The Lesser will invite him round without asking, use your car without checking first (and not replace the petrol that is used). He will readily incur credit on your behalf. If you challenge him about this failure to seek and obtain consent all he will hear is that you are criticising him. He will rarely bother to even think of an excuse for his actions. He does not need to explain himself to you. If he does decide to respond the explanation is usually obviously incredible but this does not matter to him because he can do as he pleases and you need to get with the program.
“We share everything in this house.”
“What’s yours is mine.”
“I can’t believe you are making such a fuss.”
“No I didn’t use it.”
“It wasn’t me.”
“Somebody else must have taken it.”
He can do this because he is who he is and you had better quit your complaining or you will get what is coming to you and then some. Your person fairs no better. You will be groped in public, he will get up in your face during arguments, assault you, rape you, expect you to look the way he wants you too without any consideration for whether you wanted his name tattooed on your neck or whether short hair actually suits you. He is entitled. Full stop.
The Mid-Range is less brutish and obvious in his sequestrating behaviour but is no less invasive. Where he differs from the Lesser is that he has enough control not to fly off the handle when challenged about the fact that he used the housekeeping for beer or used up all the hot water without putting the immersion heater on. Instead, the Mid-Range will offer an explanation, even an apology (although it is not meant) in order to ensure that consent is retrospectively given.
“I thought I had already asked you.”
“I am sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I will remember next time.”
“It was an emergency and I did not have time. Don’t be angry with me.”
“I will replace it tomorrow (that won’t happen) let’s not fall out now, I have something good to tell you.”
“I meant to get another one, I just plain forgot because I was busy running around after you.”
“I was hungry; you don’t begrudge me having something to eat do you?”
The Mid-Range will con you into granting consent so that he can file this away and use it for next time.
“But you didn’t mind last time.”
“Last time you said it was okay.”
“You said nothing when I did it last time, so how am I to know you don’t agree now? I am not a mind-reader.”
The Mid-Range will especially engage in making you feel sorry for him so you grant the consent retrospectively, he will make you feel guilty for objecting and make you seem like a spoilsport if you do not go along with what he wants.
What about the Greater? As you would expect there is none of the out and out grabbing of the Lesser as the Greater finds such behaviour vulgar. Nor would he engage in the pitiful mewling of the Mid-Range, that is ignoble and beneath the Greater. Of course the Greater has just as great, if not greater expectations that he can do as he pleases however his increased cognitive ability and awareness means that if need be, he will just plough on regardless and do as he pleases but he recognises the value in actually obtaining consent. Indeed, the extraction of this consent from a seemingly unwilling victim is a challenge the Greater relishes as it draws fuel, underlines his power and emphasises his superiority. You can expect the Greater to use emotional blackmail, bribery and coercion to extract the consent.
“If you agree to do it, I will take you somewhere good for dinner.”
“If you don’t do it, I will leave you.”
“If you refuse I just might have to publish those pictures I have of you.”
“I never thought of you as boring, everybody else does it you know?”
“My ex would do it without question. Maybe I made a mistake leaving her for you?”
The Greater applies pressure, immense pressure in order to extract this consent so that the reality is that consent was never properly given, but that is not going to stop the Greater. Once you nod, say you agree, mutter “okay then”, consent has been delivered and he will plough on with whatever it is that he wants to do. Do not think you can change your mind. In the world of the Greater, you cannot withdraw consent once given and it holds good for the rest of the relationship. It is not applicable as a one off.
The Greater also will apply plausible deniability to any situation where consent becomes an issue, so that if he is challenged by a third party with regard to the issue of consent, for example, taking somebody’s vehicle or using their money, he will use a combination of charm and out and out lies in order to damage the victim’s version of events and make it appear that consent was provided. The scheming intelligence of the Greater combined with the traits mentioned at the outset of this piece enable him to behave with impunity with regard to the issue of consent.