Life Lessons: Rape, the Surrounding Stigma, and Your Choice

“Never sacrifice your needs and wants based on someone else’s sexual agenda. You’re numero uno.”

The topics of rape and rape culture are very mainstream issues these days. Women and men raging out against it in order to fight the stigma; both genders raging against those who don’t see it as a problem. The thing is, it is a big deal – it’s a huge deal and it’s wrong on so many levels.

The subject of pervasive rape culture is still gaining traction in the media as more and more cases such as; Brock Turner, the Brooklyn Rape Case, and countless others come to our attention. What’s exhibited in public reactions during much of these cases is the use of classic victim-blaming.

“Why was she drinking?” “Why was she alone?” “Why did she go home with them?” “Why did she take them home?”

The fact of the matter is, it’s never the victim’s fault no matter how drunk they may have been. Or, how much of a tease they were or what he/she was wearing. Yes, he or she. Rape affects both genders.

So how does one define rape, exactly? Rape is anytime sex is consequential. Just because a “no” was never muttered doesn’t mean the sex was consensual – there needs to be a yes or an understanding of sorts. This goes for all types of sexual activity, penetration involved or not. Rape can also be considered as such if a person doesn’t want to do it, even if they follow through with the act.

 

Lesson time!

1) You can always change your mind.

It sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget. Say you go out with someone, they’re real hot. You guys decide to go back to one of your houses for some heavy petting, and hopefully, “The Full Monty”.

But wait! You don’t feel like going the whole nine yards anymore. It just doesn’t feel like the right timing. Even if your super hot beau is expecting penetration or anything further than what you’re comfortable with, you can always say “no.” And that decision should be honored and respected.

Sure, this sounds silly and common sensical, but when you’re in the situation, it’s a bit harder than you think. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve had a guy over after things were going well. We’d start to make out, but I had already made up my mind to save the deed for another day, for whatever reason:”I don’t want them to think I’m easy.” “My vag hurts because I just got off my period.” “He’s been kind of a dick.” Whatever reason, it’s always okay to change your mind.

There are too many times I’ve felt pressured to continue on with something I didn’t want to do, initially. Or, had changed my mind after making a decision. I’ve said no and been guilt-tripped into continuing on. Sure, you might think it’s my own fault, and maybe it is. But I didn’t believe I could say no and stand my ground.

2) No means no.

If you say no, and someone keeps pushing, get out. As repetition from above, you’re not obligated to give up your body. It’s your body, your decision. If you say no, that’s it. You shouldn’t feel like after five nos, you have to say yes or give in. If you say no, unless you actually change your mind, don’t do it. If you keep getting pressured, get out! I cannot press this enough. 

On my 22nd birthday, I had a guy over that I had met online. I didn’t really have any friends, actually. I had basically zero, at the time. I never celebrated my birthday because it always sucked, but this year, I wanted to.

This guy, we’ll call him Joe, made me feel really special. We FaceTimed and texted and he told me I was beautiful, and I believed him. I believed that he thought I was great and something different. I believed that he was actually interested in me. Boy, was I wrong.

When we met up, we made plans for the night. We would watch a movie and then get food and drinks. It was my birthday, after all. So, because he drove about two hours to come spend my birthday with me, we went back to my place. We put on The Fault in Our Stars(2014) and I was stupid enough to believe we were actually going to watch the movie. I hadn’t seen it before, and he knew that. It was going to be great.

Spoiler, it wasn’t. He started cuddling. I thought to myself, “OK, this is fine.” Then, he started kissing my neck, intermediately. Then more and more, I told him that we should just watch the movie. He said fine and quit for a few minutes before resuming again. I thought he was oh so fine, so I gave into making out with him.  He drove two hours just to see me on my birthday,  so in my mind I thought “how could I not?”

From there, he pushed to have sex by climbing on top of me. I said no, and that I wanted to watch the movie. If we weren’t going to watch the movie, we should go ahead and get food; it was late and I was hungry. To my surprise, his retort was we had to “do it” before getting food. I thought he was joking until I realized he wasn’t. After about an hour of saying no, I truly believed we wouldn’t be able to leave to get food until I gave in. So I caved…

After the deed was done, he said “Don’t you dare call that rape.” See the problem? I do. Hindsight is 20/20, friends. If you say no and mean it, leave or kick that person out. Call for backup if you need to. Never sacrifice your needs and wants based on someone else’s sexual agenda. You’re numero uno.

3) You’re never too fat or ugly to say no.

There have been several times I’ve been in situations where people have told me that I’m lucky they even want to have sex with me – and I believed them. I didn’t want to, but I also didn’t believe that anyone else would ever find me attractive. I didn’t believe that someone would want more from me than just a quick fuck or an hour of playtime. I was forced into things and convinced that I should think it’s a priviledge, because why would anyone ever want to have relations with a fat girl like me?

I’m here to tell you that you’re beautiful and the right person won’t be an ass and won’t make you feel degraded in order to have you sleep with them. The right person will think you’re perfect and that the sun shines from your body no matter how you feel it looks. And they’ll be right, at least on your perfection.

Maybe all this preceding advice seems like common sense, but in the moment, it’s a lot more difficult to stick to your guns. Just know that you can, and you’re not in the wrong for doing so. If the person you’re with continues on with their agenda, that’s not your fault. You as the victim or person receiving wrongful actions, are not to blame. There are no blurred lines.

 


 

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