A Follow-Up on the Nuances of Consent

Our group blog post discussing consent was one that I considered very fleshed out and thorough, but also lacked an incisive conclusion. I don’t think that is a fault of myself or my group, but instead because, as we had established, it was an idea rooted in such a degree of complexity that it was seemingly impossible to come to a succinct conclusion on what is and isn’t acceptable within the grounds of proper informed consent. There is a strange juxtaposition between aspects that are so obviously black and white, while others fall into a clouded area that is difficult to navigate. I’ve had more time to consider these aspects, and I believe that it is a topic that requires more introspection, especially when it is something that is very prevalent in all of our lives.

I consider the AEC policy and the general rules that doctors need to abide by. When a doctor performs anything in line with their work, it is done so with the understanding that a patient’s best interest will be guiding their processes, such as administering medicine or performing surgery. This brings up the question, at least in my eyes, of plastic and cosmetic surgery, particularly ones that are primarily done for aesthetic purposes. I generally don’t have an issue with cosmetic surgeries; people have the right to do what they want with their bodies. However, is there a point when it infringes on proper ethics? Cosmetic surgeries, like anything else, have the potential to harm someone. Generally that potential for harm is understood, but for a non-cosmetic surgery it is taken into account that the risk for harm is outweighed by the necessity for that surgery. Cosmetic procedures can have the equal risk without the justification that it could potentially save a person’s life. I suppose there is the argument that these surgeries enhance a person’s mental well being, and that once again blurs the line.

Alcohol was another portion that was touched upon in our group post. We addressed that consent is highly debated when alcohol is introduced. This was reintroduced to me when my fraternity attended the school event One Love: a course on seeing signs of unhealthy relationships and how they could be mitigated. We usually participate in the course once a year, but this time we were encouraged to ask questions. The topic of alcohol and consent came up, and it was determined that if either party is intoxicated to any extent any sexual act is deemed not consensual. It was then asked if she (the women hosting) was aware of how often “non-consensual acts” are taking place on this campus considering the party scene at Geneseo, or even at a larger scale how much this occurring nation-wide. She said she does understand that it’s an ongoing issue, but its is obviously very difficult to enforce and it is better in theory than practice. None of these questions were rooted with malicious ideals, but a genuine curiosity for something that is prevalent throughout college campuses. I think it’s important to ask these questions, and I was glad that it had happened, but it didn’t exactly help to have a solidified stance, considering the person teaching us about this struggled herself to come to a solution. 

If it wasn’t blatant before, these are just some of the aspects I thought about that continually add to the nuance of informed consent, and I think it only substantiates the fact that it is important that people do their best to have the clearest understanding of informed consent possible.

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