I woke up & instantly got angry. It wasn't because of my dream or anything like that, it was because I jumped on Twitter as soon as I was able to get one and a half eyeballs open and started seeing some mess on my timeline that got me fired up. The discussion of consent and rape was brought up again, and while many of us may feel like this shouldn't even be an issue anymore (no means no, how many times do you have to hear that?), the responses to the tweets show that this is something a lot of people still don't seem to comprehend.
Before we dive in, here's how it began...
My girl Danielle Ayoka (aka @mysticxlipstick) posted a user's tweet that sparked the "debate" of what constitutes as consent, telling her followers, "Ladies don't deal with any man that finds this statement to be questionable."
The tweet in question resurfaced an Amber Rose interview quote and prompted followers to share their thoughts:
I would like to hear some of my followers thoughts pic.twitter.com/H0m19cUC93
— Dre™ (@_drewalker) December 22, 2016
The responses were definitely alarming. While many felt like this is common knowledge, those who contribute to the problem of this entire situation also exposed some ugly truth--many men still find it OK to punish women for refusing sex. Now, before the guys get on me for this, I understand that men get raped, too, but the issue is at a much higher rate for women (97 percent of rapists are men) and it seems like we need to continue to shed some light on this for those who refuse to get out of the dark.
Here's the first thing we need to get squared away--rape doesn't always look the same. It's not always a girl walking down a sus alley and then some killer snatches her up and leaves her for dead. More often than not, it's those closest to you who are doing the harm. Your family, your friend, even your boyfriend. Yes, just because you're dating doesn't mean it's not rape.
So, let's just nip this thing in the bud, please? And I'm not doing this to hear your arguments, because an opposing view only contributes to the problem that we're trying to squash. Check yourself before you say some slick shit that ends up making you look like an idiot.
As we've heard time and time again, "No means no." Simple enough, right? Apparently not.
As a woman, and as a human being, I have the right to refuse sex from whomever, whenever, no matter what the circumstances.
Drunken Debauchery: If you are my friend and we're drunk and flirting and even kissing, but in the midst of our belligerent play that seems to be leading to getting it in, I tell you, "No, I don't want to." Get off me. Don't argue with me. Don't tell me you have blue balls. Don't even try to make me feel bad, because guess what? I don't. Your dick is not entitled to anything.
Boyfriend Privileges: Yes, when you're in a relationship, the one you're with gets special treatment, but that does not--I repeat, does not--include non-consensual sex. And breaking news: being exclusive doesn't automatically mean the sex is always consensual. If your girl does not want to have sex with you, you don't force her. That line alone should let you know it's not OK. Forcing your girlfriend to have sex with you. How can you not understand how wrong that is? Once again, your dick is not entitled to anything.
The Switch Up: As Amber Rose bluntly explained in her quote, sometimes we have a change of heart. That's human nature. We can be in bed with you, ready to do the dirty, and for whatever reason, we don't feel like it's right, so we decide against it. It doesn't matter if you're still just doing pillow talk or if you're damn-near naked and hearts are already racing, the moment one of the people involved chooses to stop, Operation: Sex shuts down completely. Because whaddya know? Your dick is not entitled to anything.
It really hurts my heart to see men, who I'd like to believe are good guys deep down, try to even make up some rationale for this. As women, we already have to deal with victim blaming constantly. She shouldn't have worn that. She shouldn't have been drinking. She shouldn't have been so nice. She shouldn't have done this or that or the other thing.
Stop. How about we start teaching our boys how to treat a woman properly instead of having to explain to our girls why everyone is placing the blame on them?
We should be able to live our lives without the fear of getting raped.
Think of the women you love. Think of your mothers, your grandmothers, your nieces, your goddaughters, your daughters, your sisters...you want to protect them and keep them safe from harm, right? So don't become the danger that someone else is worried about for the woman they love.
If a woman chooses not to have sex with you, and you become angry, then I'm gonna need you to do some soul searching and figure out what your real issue is, because ultimately, your anger shows that this is a lot deeper than just taking an L.
Respect the women in your life, whether they come for a season or for a lifetime. Cherish what they choose to share with you and honor what they choose to keep to themselves. And last but not least, be a man who sets an example, because we need more men to stand up for our women.
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, you are not alone. Call the National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit S.A.F.E for more assistance.