Unspoken Consent

Thursday, 29 May 2014

While the whole of Twitter discusses and argues over the #YesAllWomen trend I’m sat here pondering something else. For the last few days all I’ve seen on the internet is that men should be taught not to rape (although why they should be taught common sense I do not know) but there’s another thing I wish guys (and girls, let’s not be sexist here) were taught. It’s something that’s popped up in my life on a regular basis and it’s something I feel needs to be addressed.

Ever since the first time I slept in the same bed as a man I found their wandering hands in places I didn’t want them. Sure I was cool with having sex and doing everything that lead up to it but I didn’t want it for every minute I lay next to them. I didn’t want their hands exploring my baby making area when all I wanted to do was sleep or even eat. Saying no and pushing their hands away never worked though. “No” would be met with “why?” and “I don’t feel like it” was never an adequate answer. Keeping my legs closed and refusing entry wouldn’t stop them either. For as long as I was in bed with them my body was theirs for the taking.

This happened with one night stands and with boyfriends. One guy would even make whining noises until I would get annoyed and tell him to just get on with it. My reluctance to have their hands on me never even slowed them down. As soon as they thought I had given them the green light they were on me like flies on faeces (nice analogy there).

I was never raped by these guys. Well, I wouldn’t say I was if we’re using the conventional definition of rape. They never once managed to have full on sex with me, that I did manage to stop but everything up to sex was allowed in their heads. I never had the desire to crawl all over their body parts when they clearly didn’t want me to so I don’t know what made my lack of consent so desirable to them.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just get out of bed and walk out of the door and to tell you the truth I’m wondering the same thing too. More often or not I wasn’t even close to home while staying at these people’s houses. Sometimes I was in a different town but I was usually in a different country altogether. I didn’t have the money to get home earlier than scheduled nor could I stay elsewhere for the night so I just made do. It wasn’t ideal but it’s stupidly all I had.

I had plenty sex education related lessons while at school but I can’t recall anyone talking about consent. It seems to be an unspoken thing that we should all know and understand yet don’t. While everyone is crying for men to be taught not to rape I’m sitting here wondering why we’re not taught about consent period. As far as I’m concerned someone saying no, slapping your hands away or tensing up and being obviously uncomfortable when you’re trying to give them sexual favours means stop, it does not mean keep trying to do things until they finally get fed up and let you.

I don’t know what causes people to believe that the person lying next to them is willing to engage in sexual play even when it’s clear they don’t want to but I’m no psychologist. I’m just a 21 year old girl who is fed up with people not understanding the meaning of or just ignoring “no” altogether. If we’re going to demand that men are taught not to rape then I’m going to demand the ins and outs of consent are drilled into every single person’s brain and yes, that includes females too.

P.S I didn’t mean to only throw guys under the bus in this post, it’s just as a heterosexual female my only experiences are with the male persuasion.

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