This is my most recent essay for Heretic TOC – an exploration of the nature of ‘consent’ in child-adult relationships. I have tried to start at first principles – with dictionary definitions of ‘informed’ and ‘consent’ – and see where this would lead me.
When researching and writing this essay I frequently came across the phrase ‘informed consent’.
However no-one who used this phrase to oppose child-adult intimacy, seemed to feel the need to specify exactly what the ‘information’ is that is implied by the phrase. I sensed that they were happier that this ‘information’ remain a dark, shadowy mass of protean threats, dangers and diseases rather than a debatable list of specifics open to analysis.
Those in favour of legitimising consensual (yes, I know that in using this adjective I’m begging the question this essay is asking) child-adult intimacy should not tolerate people using the phrase ‘informed consent’ without them having to specify exactly what this necessary information consists of.
The answers they give often reveal the confused nature of their thought on this issue and can provide us with a great opportunity for educating them.
Among the 130 comments received in response to Negotiating a little girl’s knickers down were a number of excellent ones on “consent”, including the “informed” and “affirmative” varieties. One commentator, Lensman, kindly agreed to my suggestion that his contribution should appear as a guest blog – by no means his first, as regular readers will know. I thought it was fine in its draft form but it now appears below in a more polished and extended version that must have cost its perfectionist author a lot more time to prepare. He has apologized to me (quite unnecessarily!) for its being “heavy going”. I say it is a serious subject that deserves, and indeed demands, the sort of careful analysis he has given; I trust others here will agree.
- What do the words “consent” and “informed”, mean?
According to Collins English Dictionary:
Informed: (adjective) 1. having much knowledge or…
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