Let’s talk about sex. Sexy sex. Sensual, wonderful, gossip-worthy sex. You and another person sex.
Imagine you’re with someone, wrapped up in all this stifling sexiness, and you’re at the point where you’re past the point of being DTS (down-to-snuggle, best term ever invented by college students). But what if you don’t want to engage in actual sexual activity? When does your ability to say no hit the obstacle that is someone else’s desire to continue the trajectory of sexual activity? When does everything turn upside-down and become the r-word?
On Wednesday, September 22nd, Women’s Issues Group hosted an open-forum under the guidelines of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). As college students, the attendees spoke most frequently from the college student perspective. Questions were raised and disputed such as:
-How should you handle drinking on campus and becoming vulnerable to a sexually violent scenario?
-Should you have a “spotter” or “designated non-drinking friend” who can pull you away from walking off with a stranger who is being too gropey?
-How do you feel knowing that, “if you are not raped yourself, you will definitely know someone who has been raped before you graduate?”
-What does it say about our society that male-victimization goes so wildly underreported?
The statistics about rapists were shudder-worthy, such as, “Less than 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.” Where are the free 94% lurking about?
These discussions, while to some are a complete turn-off, a total anti-erection topic, brought forth a topic that those present thought was truly sexy: Asking for consent and giving consent.
Consent, the idea of giving someone permission to touch you, to infiltrate that privacy that defines such a deep part of you, is inarguably sexy. You don’t have to stop mid-unbuttoning procedure and say, “Are you sure that you want to have ___________ done to you with my _________ involved in ___________ manner?” but there are ways to make your boundaries known and clear. For starters, we need to learn how to say no when we mean no, and yes when we mean yes, continue. Enough with the overly romanticized protestations that have penetrated (pun!) our social sexual psyche.
We tend to this of rape as violent and obvious, but it has been shown time and time again that in highly pressurized situations, we are unable to vocalize or express our rejection of being touched. We need to be asked. We should be asked. We should ask others.
This affects men and women of all ages, cultures, faiths, and sexual orientations. When you have victims being told that, “the courts are playing catch up,” and “there is often too much paperwork for timely processing,” as one Campus Safety officer stated, society has to reevaluate how we raise our sexually active population to regard consent. Partner this with the idea that if you’re in a non-heterosexual tryst, you can cry “rape” all you want, but few courts will hear you out or take you seriously.
Next time you’re undoing the fly of someone’s fondle-me pants, ask yourself how sexy it all will feel in the morning if you assumed wrong, because we all know that one girl or guy who has had the “I’m not sure if that definitely happened….” story. And that story becomes someone’s nightmare a million times a year.