Hello Wild Ones,
Today, I will just talk about something I often think about. This probably inspired by the realization that the system is not very equipped when it comes to fighting for the girl who got raped, and the society is never ready to believe her after reading a few articles on rape culture and violence against women during consensual sex on Refinery29. I am not going to be talking about the politics of this whole situation, just telling a short story about myself and someone else and how this whole situation played out. (I wanna say sorry to the guy in this story before I go on to write it because my story is only from my perspective, and you don’t look good, but I will do my best to acknowledge my mistakes in this.)
This guy lets call him, Emotional Bae (I really struggled to find a name for him). Emotional Bae and I had met through a mutual friend who was always having problems with his girlfriend, and we were always giving the poor guy advice on how to handle his tumultuous relationship. While being “Doctor Loves,” we connected at the instance that we were these kids that had so much knowledge about love (Ignorance is bliss). So we would spend hours talking about the possibilities of us without ever really trying to commit anything via Whatsapp. We barely met because I was the sheltered girl who never left her parent’s house, and he was the broke university boy. So we made plans to meet!!
Let’s cut the chase to the scene in his house. I don’t remember the conversation, but I remember walking up to the mirror to fix my lipstick (I was obsessed with fixing my lipstick then because I had just started wearing lipstick). Maybe he took that as a cue that I was trying to flirt with him because of the next thing he was asking whether he could kiss me, and I said no. But he leaned forward and stole a kiss, and at that moment, I was conflicted if I should throw him off, kiss him back or just sit there. I found myself calculating if I throw him off, I might lose a very good friend, if I kiss him back, well I really don’t want to, and if I just sit there, I am really going to hate myself after. So my silly brain decided that I should just kiss him back, and that way, I will feel in control of the situation in some way. Like how am I a strong woman but completely unable to reject a man just because he is my friend? At some point when I tried to stop it, he rationalized, “We did it before, so why stop now?” and I really didn’t know how to assert myself at that moment.
For a long time, I blamed my friend for that kiss. I was angry at him for persisting when I said no. I was pissed that he put me in that situation. I was also disappointed with myself for not having the strength to say no firmly. I felt really violated by my friend. How could he do this to me? We tried to resolve this matter, but I got tired of trying to explain why I was mad at him, so I did my favorite conflict resolution tactic (ghost him although I did inform him that I was going to block him before I did).
When I look back on that even, I realize how blurred the lines of consent are sometimes. Like we both failed at being “responsible” with consent!! My body language should have matched my words, and he should have taken no for an answer. I am sorry if I look like I am blaming the victim but hear me out. We were two kids who first hand at anything consent was on television and violation of consent where the girl says no, and the boy kisses the girl anyway is portrayed as romantic. I also didn’t know that I had the power to withdraw consent once I had given, and he probably didn’t either. To me, it’s like I had a key, but I really didn’t know what to do with it. I knew I could say no, but at that moment, I didn’t, and for the longest time, I wondered if I just regretted the encounter and decided to transfer the blame or had I been assaulted and chose to blame myself. I also asked if it had been sex, I would feel as strongly about it? Would I go to the police and say I was assaulted? If I did it with him a few more times just to convince myself it was consensual, is it still assault? Does he become a sexual abuser just because he missed a cue that was supposed to tell him I wasn’t interested? Is it his fault he probably thought it was romantic to kiss me? Do I look like I am creating excuses for this guy? Do you even understand what I am saying? (These are probably questions you wanna think about)
To conclude, I think consent that day had blurred lines because I wasn’t empowered enough to understand what consent is about, and I would have probably not known I had been violated if I hadn’t read about consent. He also had a screwed way of looking at it, and he probably didn’t know any better because up to now, he still struggles to understand what exactly he did wrong when he did was kiss a girl he liked, and she kissed him back. So then the big question is, who is supposed to teach us about consent? And also, whose responsibility is it to exercise consent? (Think about it!!!)
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With love and consent,