Consent - It's Not about Gender
Somethingís been bothering me about the current round of rape awareness going around online and in the media. Itís not about whether the girl was asking for it, or in any way partially culpable for the assault (which, by the way, for those of you who donít get it, she wasnít). It isnít about whether the boys did anything wrong (again, for the clueless, they did). Itís that, once again, when awareness of the fact that perhaps not everyone out there is properly clued in on whether itís okay to engage in sexual activity with someone without their consent, there is a basic assumption being thrown around that is patently false.
That basic assumption that underlies the majority of the language being used in the discussion is that it is only men who commit sexual assault, and only women who are assaulted. This is the furthest thing from the case. No, I am not exaggerating here. Most of the conversation boils down to ďMen need to be better educated in what sexual assault and consent are.Ē Let me clue you in to something. This basic assumption, whether those wielding it realize it or not, is every bit as misogynistic as the notion men might have a ďrightĒ to take advantage of a vulnerable girl.
Men can be raped, too. Women can do the raping. It goes both ways. Heck, both sexes donít even have to be involved. Women can rape women; men can rape men. And not only CAN it happen, it DOES happen.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse. At the hands of another male. I survived repeated instances of it for almost 3 years. I was too young to give consent. (And, honestly, I donít think I ever really did anyway, but thatís beside the point). And I am most decidedly a heterosexual male.
What the conversation really needs to do, is focus on consent. Any act, without the full consent of all parties involved, whether male or female, is wrong. If he or she is passed out, and unable to give consent, donít fuck with them. This runs the gamut from painting on their face to deciding itís cool to have sex with them because they canít stop you. If theyíre conscious, and they say no at any point in time, STOP. It doesnít matter if they started out saying ďyesĒ. The moment ďnoĒ is said, consent has been revoked. You stop. If theyíre too young, or too drunk, or too drugged, or no of sufficient mental capacity to be able to make an informed decision, leave them be.
Itís simple, and shouldnít need volumes of discourse to figure out.
If informed consent has not been given, donít do it to them.
If they are unable to give informed consent, donít do it to them.
If they gave consent but then change their mind and revoke it, donít do it to them.
It doesnít matter if theyíre a guy or a girl.
It doesnít matter if you are a guy or a girl.
Just. Donít. do it.