The following is a small piece written by a young woman in regards to reactions that she read about a piece on potential law changes to do with rape. Changes that would, to paraphrase, leave it to the accused to prove the victim said yes, rather than the victim proving they said no. This is an emotional piece and will be a trigger for many. It’s not actually about whether those law changes are good or bad, but more the root of the issue. Upon reading it others reacted with comments about how powerful it was and how it needed to get out there. The writer wishes to remain anonymous for their own reasons, those who know her well will probably recognize the stories she used, regardless, I ask you to respect her wish to be anonymous as its author for the time being.
To be perfectly honest about it, I don’t think consent is the issue here. The issue is the amount of people who believe that they have rights over another person, the problem isn’t proving consent, the problem is we need to go back a step here and educate people to know that another persons body is not their fucking property. IN ANY WAY.
I was 19 when I lost my virginity and let me tell you, it was a hard thing to make it that long. Not just because of virgin shaming which was, believe me, a big thing, but the biggest problem was that people seemed to think because I showed any interest in them that it gave them the right to take sex. I was pinned down to the couch on one occasion, another time I got carried away and then I said no…so he kept trying to touch, pressing against me, telling me he loved me, that I was ready, that he could tell I was ready for it…no means no, I don’t care how far you’ve gone if someone wants to stop then you damn well stop, you don’t press to get them to change their mind, you don’t try to wear them down. When I shut another boyfriend down and told him I wasn’t ready he trapped me against a wall until I got free, and then I arrived at school the next day to find out that he had dumped me and told everyone that I was so desperate for him and he’d shut me down because I was gross with my clothes off. My response wasn’t the most creative or the best…I slapped him clear across the face and announced loudly that lying because he couldn’t rape me was really pathetic. I got a cheer from many of the girls…many who hadn’t been through similar experiences with boys themselves.
I’ve been told when I’ve spoken about what guys have tried to do that I lead them on, that it was my fault, I gave mixed messages, I dressed for it….and that he was my boyfriend why shouldn’t he expect sex.
How about no. No one has the right to expect anything from someone else, except to be treated with respect. We all have the right to expect that. Regardless of if someone is a stranger, your girlfriend, your wife, your boyfriend, husband, best friend, workmate, kid in class, person you hooked up with at a party….they have the right to say to say no, but more than that…YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE ANYTHING OR EXPECT ANYTHING. This is a two way deal, if it was a one way deal you’d be masturbating. It’s a two way street, both parties have to want it, actively want it. Being passed out and having wanted it before is not telling you that you are cleared for landing.
And for the record, if someone doesn’t want it right now, if they aren’t ready for it, if they might want it tomorrow but not tonight or not at all…you have NO RIGHT to shame them, to emotionally abuse them or physically abuse them, you have no right to guilt trip them or make them feel bad.
It’s called respect and it seems not enough people understand the concept.