I am not going to sugarcoat this post: today I am writing about rape and consent. So if this is a difficult topic for you to read about this probably isn’t the post for you. My friend Jaimie taught me the phrase “a hill I’m willing to die on” many years ago and while there are several hills I’d risk my life on, this is one of the ones that’s most passionate to me. (This will actually be a three-part post over the next few days. It’s just too much to put in one blog post.)
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I spent almost the entire morning with a student today who had been raped last week. The details of what happened to her are private and not mine to share, but what it is important to know is that this girl didn’t give consent to having sex. I know the story. She definitely did not say yes in any way.
It is shocking to me to say this but I actually know people in real life who don’t understand what consent is when it comes to engaging in sex. So I would just like to take a minute to clarify some things.
Consent is an active, willing partner who says yes and has the right to stop at any time.
Consent is not:
- “the person didn’t say no so that means yes” — there is no such thing as “implied consent”
- someone too drunk/high on drugs to say yes
- someone too drunk/high on drugs to be conscious
- someone wearing revealing or immodest clothing
- starting to have sex, one person saying no, and the other person forcing the person saying “no”” to continue
- having sex with someone before and making them have sex with you because you expect it based on previous history
- making someone have sex with you because you paid for their dinner
- making someone have sex with you because you bought them alcohol
- making someone have sex with you because you bought them anything
- making someone have sex with you because you make them feel guilty or manipulated or threatened into saying yes
- restraining someone against their will to have sex with them
If you engage in sex using any of the above things, you’re probably raping someone. These are all things that take away someone’s ability to give consent to sex.
Does that make you uncomfortable? GOOD. I hope it does. It should. Because 1 out of 6 American women are survivors of attempted or completed rape (source). That means the chances that someone revoked consent from a woman you know is good. If you know me in real life, I am 1 in 6.
I am so sick and tired of young women having to defend their actions after being raped.
I am so sick and tired of our rape-supportive culture.
I am so sick and tired of listening to girls tell me that they could have stopped it if only they hadn’t been drinking/worn different clothes/not gone out.
I am so sick and tired of the “justice” system revictimizing survivors of rape and other forms of sexual assault.
I am so sick and tired of rapists being defended in the media and in homes where young women live.
I am so sick and tired of having to even write posts like this.
It is time for parents to step up and raise sons (yes, I know that women can commit sexual assaults and men are sexually assaulted, but 9 out of 10 survivors of rape are women [source]) who understand what it means to not rape women.
Rape and other forms of sexual assault are not crimes of love or passion or even sex. They are crimes of power over someone else. Stand up and teach boys and men not to do it. Don’t put the blame on the women who survive.
If you have been raped, recently or a billion years ago, there is hope and help and healing. I would highly recommend reading out to RAINN. They have a free telephone number (National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE (4673) | Free. Confidential. 24/7.) where you can get connected and they also have an online hotline where you can talk to somehow in a chat message.I know you must feel scared and alone and like no one understands, but there are people who have been there and who want to help you today.
You are worth so much more than what this person or these people did to you.
You are so loved and so valuable.
You did not deserve this.
You are not alone.