Advertisement
Food by VICE

A New Sexual Consent Campaign Compares Rape with Forcing People to Drink Tea

A new campaign video from Thames Valley Police uses tea as an analogy for sexual consent. “If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea, how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex?” it asks.

by Phoebe Hurst
Oct 29 2015, 1:04pm

Photo via Flickr user Katie Ring

If there's one substance to unite all Britons and rouse any cringing semblance of patriotism, it's a murky brown liquid containing two (three) sugars, served in a chipped Sports Direct mug with a slightly stale Hobnob.

Tea.

We drink it in numerous guises, we debate endlessly about whether the milk should go in first, and we go into near cardiac arrest if you leave the teabag in for too long. Britain just really fucking likes tea, OK?

British police are now hoping to utilise some of this tea-inspired passion as part of a new sexual consent campaign.

READ MORE: A Bad Cup of Tea Is Worse Than a Heart Attack

Launched on Tuesday by Thames Valley Police, Consent: It's as Simple as Tea is a three-minute video showing stick figures making and drinking tea in different situations. As the voiceover explains: "If you're still struggling with consent, just imagine that instead of initiating sex, you're making them a cup of tea."

The video goes on to show one of the figures attempting to give the second a cup of tea.

"You can make them a cup of tea but be aware that they might not drink it and if they don't drink it—and this is the important bit—don't make them drink it," the voiceover says. "And if they say, 'No, thank you' then don't make them tea. At all. Just don't make them tea."

When one of the stick figures passes out as the other prepares the drink, the voiceover adds: "Unconscious people don't want tea and they can't answer the question, 'Do you want tea?' because they are unconscious."

The point—if the childlike drawings and simple narrative didn't get through—is that forcing someone to drink tea when they are either unconscious, have changed their mind, or flat out don't want a cup translates as an analogy for sex.

As the voiceover summarises: "If you can understand how completely ludicrous it is to force people to have tea when they don't want tea, and you are able to understand when people don't want tea, then how hard is it to understand when it comes to sex?"

Originally created by blogger Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, who wrote the text on which the script is based earlier this year, the video and campaign was launched by Thames Valley Police alongside local sexual violence prevention groups.

Thames Valley detective chief inspector Justin Fletcher said: "The law is very clear—sex without consent is rape … awareness of what sexual consent means and how to get it is vital. Together we can prevent rape by ensuring everyone knows when they have sexual consent—and when they do not."

READ MORE: You've Been Making Tea the Wrong Way for 30 Years

The debate over how best to communicate sexual consent has been the focus of recent media attention. Last year, 20 Oxford University colleges introduced compulsory sexual consent classes during freshers' week, aiming to provide a "safe space in which to evaluate and develop our understanding of sexual consent." Other sexual consent campaigners hope that the current drive to make Personal, Social, Health, and Economic education a statutory part of the British curriculum will include a clearer message for young people on the power of "no."

The makers of Consent: It's as Simple as Tea add another, perhaps more accessible, angle to the conversation. Christina Diamandopoulos, co-director of the local Rape Crisis centres working with Thames Valley Police said: "Confusion around consent has been the result of historical distortions, In reality it has never been a 'grey' area and this campaign, which we are proud to be part of, makes that clear."

After all, what could be clearer than tea?