Here’s a little story to help people who have trouble understanding the importance of affirmative consent and why “No Means No” is not always enough.
You’re in your front yard, doing some yard work (planting bulbs or trimming bushes or whatever it is you do) and your neighbour passes by on his way to the mailbox. You say hello.
Your neighbour takes your greeting as an invitation to stick around and chat, which is okay. He is a nice enough guy and you two have a cordial relationship.
After chatting about the weather and that local sports team, you get into some personal topics like what your relationship with your parents is like, the things on your bucket list, and your aspirations for your career.
You’re enjoying yourself and getting along well.
During a lull in your long and pleasant conversation, your neighbour takes advantage of friendliness, and says “It’s okay if I just pop into your house right?” as he opens your front door and lets himself into your home, leaving you standing on your front lawn with dirt under your fingernails and a look of confusion.
You don’t want him in there. Sure he was really nice to you, but you didn’t feel comfortable inviting him in. And, yeah, he asked if it was okay before he entered, but everything happened so fast that you barely had time to process it, let alone respond. He seems like a good guy, so he probably doesn’t have bad intentions but all the same you have a bad feeling about the whole thing.
Then, before you know it, your neighbour comes out your front door after rifling through your things and upsetting the balance of your home in a way that makes you feel uneasy.
“I really didn’t want you to go into my house. You shouldn’t have done that,” you finally find the nerve to say.
“Well, you didn’t say no,” he responds. He continues on his walk to the mailbox as if the whole situation were without consequence and leaves you to put back together the mess he just made inside your personal space.