Let’s talk about consent, Baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things. And the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about consent.
First of all, what is consent? Some people tend to be confused by what exactly this word means. According to dictionary.com:
- to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield (often followed by to oran infinitive):
He consented to the proposal. We asked her permission, and she consented.
- Archaic. to agree in sentiment, opinion, etc.; be in harmony.
- permission, approval, or agreement; compliance; acquiescence:
He gave his consent to the marriage.
- agreement in sentiment, opinion, a course of action, etc.:
By common consent he was appointed official delegate.
- Archaic. accord; concord; harmony.
Those are the basic definitions of consent. However, when it comes to sex, consent can be tricky. I know I have touched on this topic before, but I really want to get in depth with it in this post. I came across a video on Facebook a while ago explaining consent in a very easy to understand way. The video compares sex to drinking tea. Please take a minute to watch the video (it’s actually quite entertaining). Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZwvrxVavnQ
Consent really is simple as tea.
I also came across a bulletin board in a dorm at Mizzou with a bunch of facts explaining consent. I was so happy and proud whenever I saw that. Now I am going to share with you some of the things that I think might be helpful to know about consent.
- Consent to sexual activity is knowing and voluntary.
- Someone who is incapacitated cannot consent.
- Coercion and force, or threat of either, invalidates consent.
- Lack of consent or withdrawal of consent may be communicated by words or nonverbal acts.
- Silence or absence of resistance does not establish consent.
- Consent must be obtained at the time of the specific activity and can be withdrawn at any time.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
Seeing these facts really helped to reassure me, even three years later, that what had happened to me was not my fault. So many people, including some of my own family, tried to tell me that what happened was my fault. I could understand why they said so at the time and I still can see where they are coming from. However, despite if they thought I shouldn’t have been drinking, that was not the only reason they blamed me for what I went through. These people are confused on how consent works. Let me tell you the part of my story that has rarely been heard. (If you have yet to read my story, please read that first or you might be confused: https://rapesurvivorsstandtogether.wordpress.com/my-story/)
Whenever I was in my younger high school years, I was kind of a tease. Meaning I would say things I knew would never happen to get attention from guys (the wrong kind of attention, might I add). I had barely even kissed a boy at this time in my life. I was slightly embarrassed by this part of myself so I tried to hide it as best as I could, especially when I was talking to new guys. So when I met this guy, I really wanted him to like me. And silly little naive Lexi thought it would be a good idea to tell him that we could have sex the next time I saw him. In my head, I knew that no such thing would happen. But how was he supposed to know my stupid games I played?
While we were on this topic, he brought up the “fact” that he was a virgin. I was thrilled to hear this because I figured that he would probably be too nervous to try anything. I admitted that I was one as well. (I put fact in quotes because after everything went down, he told me that he had actually slept with three girls. LOL!!!!).
Whenever the day of the incident came along, supposedly I asked to have sex multiple times before we did (I actually have Facebook messages from him claiming this to be true). I don’t remember much from that day and that is not something I remember. However, maybe it happened. I don’t know. I remember getting to where it took place and it being really hot in there and the next thing I knew, I was naked with this guy on top of me.
There, two things I just admitted that not many people know. But let’s recall what we just learned about consent that has to do with the things I just told you.
- Consent must be obtained at the time of the specific activity.
- An incapacitated person cannot consent.
So, even though I soberly told him we could have sex previously, it was not at the time the activity was going to take place. And even though he claims I asked to have sex that day, I was drunk, therefore incapacitated and unable to consent. These two facts alone classify this situation as rape. I hate that ugly word and I tiptoe around it as much as I can. But it is what it is and this is rape.
Never in a million years would I have done that had I been sober, no matter what I said. I guarantee people read these two confessions and will still try to blame me for what happened, despite the facts that I wrote about consent. These people frustrate me sometimes, but hey, you can’t fix stupid. I know that what happened to me was wrong, as do many other people.
Unfortunately I am not the only one that goes through horrible experiences like this. Some victim’s experiences are far worse than mine.
But please, if anyone comes to you telling you that they have been a victim of a sexual assault or a rape, just listen. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, absolutely do not blame them. I don’t care what they were wearing or how much they had to drink or if at one time they said they would do it and then changed their mind. It is not their fault. Just be supportive and help them get the help they need.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a sexual assault, please do not hesitate to get help. Always feel free to talk to me also.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1(800) 273-8255.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1(800) 656-4673.