What is consent?
Is it a carer deciding what you are or aren’t going to eat. Is it when in a queue the person standing with you is asked what your order is although you are the adult!, is it when a nurse decides that you don’t need continence care so refuses to assist, thus leaving you in distress, is it when someone you have never spoken to before in a social environment wants to know ‘why are you in a wheelchair’ is it when a shop assistant insists you can’t possibly be able to push a trolley around a store or carry your shopping so insists on doing it for you, is it when someone decides that you would be better at a table your chair won’t fit under so you can see the nice view, rather than a table the chair fits under so you can eat easily, is it when someone starts messing with your hair when in a queue, or who decides that you can’t fit down a foot path you have used for decades, and so your forced onto three main roads, to go to the same place as they know best.. is it when a total stranger starts to tell you how to park the van you have been driving for years, is it when people in the hospital don’t know how to use a hoist so when they do it wrong won’t accept guidance putting me at risk… so often people think they know what’s best for me…. so often they are wrong….
Criminologist and Co-Director of Centre for Gender Studies at University of Sussex