Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Consent isn’t the absence of a “no;” consent is an unequivocal and enthusiastic YES."

Sometimes, I come across things that turn my whole world upside down... sometimes that's a good thing (eventually), but it is confusing and painful until it becomes a good thing.

For instance, a series of blogposts by Shannon Hale.
I wish there could have been someone who could have explained all of this to me fifteen years ago, and I wish that the person I was fifteen years ago could have understood.

The greatest contributor to rape culture
"When we don’t have conversations with kids about sex, we’re telling kids that it’s too bad, dirty, and wrong to even talk about. And when someone is raped, they feel bad, dirty, and wrong, and they think, yeah, that’s what I expected sex to be. And so sometimes, horrifyingly, they conclude that rape and sex must be the same thing."
Umm. Yeah. THIS. I totally thought that what Larry did was sex... It wasn't. But I didn't know any better. How could I? I'd never talked about it. I'd never experimented with my own feelings or my own body. I had NOTHING (except childhood sexual abuse) to relate to, and no one I felt like I could talk to... 

When it hurt, I thought that was normal.
When I felt used and abused, I thought the problem was ME.
When I felt angry, I thought I was selfish for not giving him what he needed.
Everything about sex was confusing... but that's because SEX NEVER HAPPENED. Not one fucking time. (Pun intended.)
"Consent isn’t the absence of a “no;” consent is an unequivocal and enthusiastic YES."
What an amazing, life-altering, mind-blowing idea. Sex means that both people want it, and if both people don't want it, it isn't sex... It's something else.
"Rape is not simply acting upon sexual urges. Rape is about dominance and power and violence and control. The intent of sex is mutual pleasure, and that's never the intent of rape. Let’s be totally clear. Those young men (Steubenville) chose, instead of having sex with a willing girl, to rape an unconscious girl. Who could not participate, could not experience pleasure, could not say yes or admire them or share an intimate moment. Those boys didn’t choose sex. They chose rape. And the experience of rape, for both the girl and the boy, is entirely different than the experience of sex. THEY ARE NOTHING ALIKE. RAPE AND SEX ARE NOT RELATED."
I once wrote a blog post where I talked about how my tears, my pleading for him to stop, my fighting him off as hard as I could (to no avail)... all of that should have been "no" enough. My "no" should have been no enough. But he didn't want someone who LIKED sex. He didn't want a consenting wife... he told me he liked it best when his woman wasn't turned on. He hated it when I fought him, but he also hated his woman participating.

Let's Talk about Consent
"Chuck says, “Consent must be unequivocal it does NOT need enthusiastic...If she implicitly and explicitly makes clear that she's willing to have sex it's not rape no matter how unenthusiastic she may be.” Chuck, this is not the legal definition of consent. It's an extremely wise definition that we'd all be better off to live by and the definition I believe we should be teaching to our children. Wouldn't you rather that your partner was enthusiastic? Why would you want to proceed if she/he wasn't?"
john doe asks, “What if the two parties disagree on what it was? you need to get consent in writing now?”
Yes, do that. If you have to ask, then yes, yes, yes. Sounds like you’re walking a line, and one that can be horrifically devastatingly life changing and even life ending for many a victim. If you’re not sure if she’s consenting, then ask her to sign a consent form, a napkin, your belly--whatever. And then her consent (or non-consent) will be perfectly clear. You’ll protect yourself as well as your partner. Do that. Please. 
Let’s err on the side of clarity, can we? When we have girls and women regularly taking their own lives to escape the horrors of a post-rape life, then clarity is the least we can offer."
"Are we worried that enthusiastic consent is too hard to get? Say a woman says, not tonight, honey. And he gets to kissing her neck and murmuring sweet things and she changes her mind and is all in. Great!
Or say a woman says, not tonight, honey, and he tries his usual moves and she’s not feeling it and still would really rather not. What happens next is very telling about how healthy their relationship is and what kind of a man he is. If she really doesn’t want to, and he doesn’t care because he does, then that’s abuse. That’s unhealthy. And if that sounds like your relationship, you both should get counseling."
 "Is the worry that if a guy wants to has sex and doesn’t hear a clear an enthusiastic yes but goes through it anyway, then she might call rape on him?
Well, 1st, depending on how it happened, it might very well be rape.
And, 2nd, if you’re okay having sex with someone who really doesn’t want to do that with you, then counseling is a good idea. Again, I mean that kindly and sincerely. Sometimes survivors of rape and abuse have a hard time enjoying sex again, and that’s something normal that a partner needs to know and respect, and counseling together is an excellent idea. But if that’s not the case and you just enjoy having sex with someone who isn’t enjoying it with you, then STOP IT AND GET HELP.
And, 3rd, if you’re choosing to sleep with someone who you’re worried might falsely call rape on you, then it’d be a good idea to choose not to sleep with them. Foregoing sex in this instance would be a wiser, better, happier choice for all."

I'd like to say more... but for now, I just feel... suddenly more aware of how fucked up life with him was... And that awareness, while probably good to have, HURTS.

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