Right State of Mind

Earlier in the semester, I wrote a blog post named Having a Cup of Tea, and it talked on how the video called Tea and Consent touched on the issues of consent in the novel Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler. As I looked back, I realized that there was not just an issue on consent in the novel but an issue of sexual consent. In the video, it only speaks on a person giving verbal yes or no and if they are in the right frame of mind to give consent. With this, I ask, was Kiera in Clay’s Ark, in the right state of mind? Did she make the right decision?

In the Tea and Consent video, it uses a cup of tea as a metaphoric symbol that represents sexual intercourse. Throughout the video, it goes through a step by step description for each scenario when it comes to having sexual intercourse. For example, if you are making a cup of tea and the person is unresponsive, do not make them a cup of tea and do not ask the question, “do you want a cup of tea?”. In no way can an unresponsive person answer due to the fact they are unresponsive. Do not force tea down someone’s throat if they cannot speak for themselves; most likely, they do not want the tea. Another is if you make someone a cup of tea and ask if they want a cup of tea and they accept it, then they want a cup of tea. If you make someone a cup of tea and they say no, do not force that person to drink the tea. As well as if you make the tea and the person says yes but later says no, still do not force tea down their throat.
Now when looking at Clay’s Ark and knowing the guidelines of the Tea and Consent video, there is a notion that maybe one of the characters gave ideal action or verbal consent, but in reality, gave consent in the wrong state of mind. In Clays’s Ark, Blake and his twin daughters Kiera and Rane, are captured by a group that holds an infectious disease that can be transmitted by touch. The disease is an organism that will co-host with one’s body and gives that person heighten human abilities, but with the disease has such a substantial effect on the body, older people tend to not survive through the transition. Kiera is the first of her kind to come into contact with the group due to her having leukemia. Because of her leukemia, if she gets infected, her chances of living are unknown. With this organism, Blake and Rane were both infected nonconsensually, expect Kiera. “She reached out and took Eli’s hands. She had been waiting to do that for so long. The hands first pulled back from her, but did not pull away…the hands closed on her hands, giving in finally, and in spite of everything, she smiled.” (Butler, 552-553). Keria is a 16-year-old girl with leukemia, who just experienced being kidnapped with her family. She has been aware they have a disease that can heighten one’s human abilities, and if given to her, it could increase or decrease her chances of survival. I feel as maybe Kiera understands the possibilities, but did not analyze them. Kiera was allowed to survive. Eli, the leader of the group, was giving her that chance. However, with time, Kiera developed feelings, which lead to the skeptical decisions shes made. “I know part of the reason I want you is that I’m…dying. But it is you I want. Not just a warm body. Before you I didn’t want anyone. There were some guys who wanted me, even after I got sick, but I never.. I thought I would never…” (Butler, 560). I have noticed throughout the semester in class discussions when one goes through traumatic experiences, everything to mood, actions, and thoughts change. As humans, we never honestly know what we want, especially after extreme events as the ones Kiera has gone through. Maybe she feels this is her only option, but did she choose the right option?

Looking at both Tea and Consent Video, and Clay’s Ark, I feel as maybe Kiera allowed the situation to cloud her judgment. I think Kiera is the unresponsive person who, in no way, is cable to make a big decision as such but makes it anyway. Out of everyone, she had the option not to be infected. However, she decided to be, all because of a guy she started to love. If I had the opportunity to ask her, I would ask, What about your father or sister whos been held under their will? Was she in the right state in mind? With Kiera, I think she was not in the right mind due to all the traumatic events, and love. Love makes us humans do the unthinkable, but love makes it think it is doable, that it is right. In the end, Keira survived, but it came with a price, the death of her family. Overall, I know that everything from the outside world, to the world within us affects everything we do. It is just up to us as humans to understand the situation and learn how to walk away.

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