No App Can Make a Sexual Contract

LegalThings are creating a legally binding app that establishes consent for sexual relationships. The whole concept though feeds into rape culture.

One company, LegalThings, are trying to create a legally binding app that establishes sexual consent prior to sexual activity. This is to tackle the absolute myth of false rape claims. While such claims are made, they are incredibly rare. Research by Home Office suggests the proportion of suspected false claims – not even proven false claims – is around the 4% mark. To fixate on trying to establish consent, as though men are routinely at risk of being trapped by a false claim is completely absurd – and it also feeds into rape culture.

Here is the main basic flaw with the app that abusers, misogynists and controlling people will never ever understand – consent can be revoked at any point. If someone says yes to an activity, they can absolutely change their mind before the act, and even during. Consent is not one thing. It’s not a “yes” and then you get whatever you want. Consent has to be talked about a lot, it has to be respected, the respect for consent has to be at the centre of all sexual activity throughout. Such an app is therefore dangerous as it implies false myths around rape and consent, and ignores the fact that people can refuse or withdraw consent at any time, even if it had already been given.

“Consent can be revoked at any point”

Survivors of sexual assault already face huge disbelief. Even people within the justice system uphold myths around rape, and deny any sense of justice. Judges have engaged in shaming, victim blaming and flat-out disbelief of survivors. Society is weighted against women especially. If we want to date, we now have to sign a contract before anything happens? We can’t change our minds at any point and under any circumstances?

Consent isn’t a straight forward transfer. That people are trying to make it so women agree to sign the dotted line and they can do what they want and ignore who they’re with then after is deeply troubling. It also shows a fundamental and wilful misunderstanding of what consent is. This isn’t to protect men, women or non-binary people. This isn’t about justice. It’s about trying to frame women as untrustworthy and abusers as victims. An app of this kind should never be allowed, or ever taken seriously.

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