THE BLOG

Can an App Deal With Consent?

21/07/2015 16:07 BST | Updated 18/07/2016 10:59 BST

With app developments always on the rise, it is not surprising that consent has entered the tech sphere. 'We Consent' requires the sexually active to say the name of the other participant and that they are consenting.

The technological advances are exciting for those following the trends, with video technology capable of registering when users are drunk. While the creators aim for the app to encourage communications- the app is only blanketing the issue and creating a superficial solution to an ever evolving issue.

The University of Dakota found that a third of 'university aged' men admitted they would rape a woman if they thought they could 'get away with it'. If the app takes off, it would hopefully act as a hindrance to some people's senses of self-entitlement during sexual relations. People can be mistaken in thinking that others' bodies are simply a means to their personal ends; viewing their partners as mere objects of sexual pleasure.

So far only the 'What About No' app is available on the App Store. This aspect of the trilogy is intended for when the 'no' message apparently isn't clear enough. But a short video of an American police man (actor, presumably) 'telling off' a rapist is insufficient. It also does not allow for the fact that many victims feel nauseated having to even look at rapists. Asking a victim to sit them down alone to watch a video is an unrealistic and unfair requirement. The person's reaction is filmed and it can be saved to the phone owners iCloud if they purchase the app. The ability to record video appears to be for evidence but could easily be used for shaming the person on social media- which is not necessarily ethical.

The premise of the apps are fantastic; conversation does need to be simulated and consent is a prerequisite for future generations to flourish. Many men forget that victims of rape are someone else's mother, daughter, sister or friend. They are capable of protecting those close to them but in the 'moment' often forget that victims are also people in their own right.

In practise the app has more issues. It is improbable that after a few drinks men are likely to ask an attractive girl to smile and say yes to the camera. An iPhone is hardly an aphrodisiac. Chances are if a man has his sights set on a girl regardless of her stance on the situation, he will not bother using an app and risking denial of his primitive need.

Perception of consent needs to be changed and teenagers adequately educated on what is and isn't acceptable. Schools must teach how "stop" is not a term of endearment and how "no" is not synonymous for "convince me". An app is no substitute for a conversation that needs to be had. It's 2015; time to learn how to accept dismissal.