What exactly is consent?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - A former football standout accused of rape and forcible sodomy pleaded guilty to reduced charges Thursday.

Osa Masina was scheduled to go on trial next week, but instead he pleaded guilty to three counts of Class A misdemeanors of sexual battery.

This case is once again bringing the topic of consent to the forefront of the conversation about sexual assault and rape. Advocates say many are still confused on exactly what it means. They say it is a constant conversation.

"As a society we should change our viewpoint to no means no to yes means yes,” said Turner Bitton, Executive Director of Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Turner Bitton says it's been hard getting over the biases when it comes to consent. As Executive Director of UCASA, he's says there have been issues getting people to understand what consent is, and realizing people can change their mind at any time.

"As a society we have to change the way we look at consent. Consent is a process it's not a one off,” said Bitton.

In the recent Osa Masina case the attorney representing the family argued the victim sent text messages to another friend saying she wanted to be intimate with Masina.

While technology and social media is leaving a record of people's intent, advocates say that is in no way shape or form consent.

"That's not consent because A it didn't happen in the moment. There are a number of factors that going into someone being able to give consent. The first and foremost is that they be sober and aware of their ability to give consent."

Sexual assault survivors like Lorcan Murphy have been trying to spread the word on consent by telling their stories. One of his biggest messages is that people have to talk and know for sure it's something that's wanted.

"I think that it's important for people to kind of be aware that sometimes people are going to say no and sometimes no isn't always going to be explicitly spelled out,” said Lorcan Murphy, sexual assault survivor.

Advocates say consent is not just a conversation for college students, but is something that should be discussed at all ages and is even for those who are already in a relationship.

This piece originally appeared in Good4Utah. Click here to read the original article. 


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