“She Could’ve Just Said No:” Part I

Poor Kendra.

I didn’t have any thoughts about her sex tape until Alicia sent me a link today that left me upset and deeply depressed.   You can read it here.   “Evil Beet” describes the action on the tape in painful detail, painful because it reveals that Kendra complained to her partner about being videotaped and about what he wanted her to do. Obviously, she gave in. And she could’ve said No.

But how easy is it to say no in certain circumstances?

Remember the people whose response to the Terry Richardson stories was essentially, “She could’ve said no?” It seems fair to expect a young woman who objects to a man’s behavior to exercise her free will and Just Say No. If a man doesn’t have a gun or knife against her throat, she is free to refuse any sexual advance or sexual suggestion.

And yet.

How many women have shameful memories of the time she allowed something to happen against her will? Something that happened because she didn’t want to cause a fuss, or scream, or piss someone off. Or because she realized that saying no wasn’t enough and she’d just have to submit and get it over with.

Where is the line between not wanting to have sex and being raped? If you say no but don’t scream for help, is this consensual sex?

When I was a teenager, “no” meant nothing to the men who could impose themselves on me. Crying meant nothing, either. It’s not something most women want to talk about but I’m learning that if you ask your friends, you’ll discover how prevalent this shit it. It’s comforting to know that I wasn’t alone in these experiences but it’s also enraging.

Do teenage girls still find themselves unable to exert their power over their own   bodies? Are their refusals respected or taken seriously? Do they feel pressured to give in rather than make a scene? Do they get to decide how far they want to go and with whom? Or do they give out blowjobs to win affection or a date for Saturday night?

I personally never judge a woman who claims she was pressured into sex. I know it happens but I’m not sure why. I’d like to think that the Terry Richardson’s of the world will face a new generation of girls who can back up the word No.

Is Kendra a slut? Of course! But even a slut has the right to refuse sex. Is it men who don’t understand this or is it us?

58 Responses to ““She Could’ve Just Said No:” Part I”

  1. Helen Says:

    Sister W, you are the best. So well written.

  2. dust Says:

    I’ve spent the end of my 20′s and beginning of 30′s being known as The Queen of Abstinence. I was in a foreign country and had a school too finish, my situation was very fragile and easily abused, so I made the decision to just say NO to all. I’m sure it saved me from many stupid things and I have no regrets, I’ve never felt that I’ve missed something. Other people thought I’m crazy knowing how flirty I am, but it worked well because I’m so flirty.
    Now you know a bit too much, but whatta hell, it’s just an (extreme!) proof that saying NO works.

    Girls out there, be free to say NO and please, stick to it. Turn your back and leave the room, no man has ever died of not getting a blowjob!

    Not to generalize too much, there is a lot of men that have problem with saying NO, cos they are well, men and they are supposed to take every chance that offers itself.
    Before we teach the kids what safe sex is, we need to teach them what sex is at the first place and without too much of moralizing let them horny bastards know the fine line between selfishness and generosity. Off course, we’d have to know the difference ourselves… huh
    It’s our hormonally imbalanced culture, Sister, where the horniest one rule. Revolution?

  3. Jill B Says:

    I was flipping channels recently and stopped for a few on Dr. Phil. He had a lady on there who had written a book called “The Blowjob is the New Goodnight Kiss.”

    I think you’re right on, Sister.

  4. Ann Says:

    Excellent post. Brought a bit of water to my eyes. Girls do have enormous pressure on themselves, and although some of it is self-imposed, it doesn’t make it any less true nor does it make it any easier to deal with. We ARE free to say no, but many don’t, and many more judge those who don’t. Talk about a vicious cycle.

    Your last question was excellent. And the answer is “both.”

  5. miss cavendish Says:

    You and Evil Beet raise such important points. And now that this video will be viewed by scores of people, the young woman’s on-screen reluctance to participate in it will simply be seen as part of the foreplay and will become, in the minds of many, not a “real” complaint. It’s sending the wrong message to male and female viewers, who may then assume that this kind of female complaint-into-submission is just part of the “natural” sexual experience.

  6. skye Says:

    For me, in my young days, unwanted sex happened because I thought I must have “led the guy on”, given out signals that somehow gave him the “wrong idea”, and therefore I had to follow through as I was somehow responsible for the situation, and if I pushed my refusal hard I would “deserve” whatever force or messy situation would come my way. I’m pretty sure this is still the message that lots (if not most) girls internalise. After all, it’s what society tells us pretty relentlessly – which is thoroughly disheartening in the 21st century.

    I was a smart, assertive, educated girl, raised by a feminist mother in a home where sex and sexual politics were open topics of discussion, but I still took that fucked up message on board.

  7. court Says:

    This is a really provacative post. Young women absolutely grow up struggling with the power of their bodies. You grow up using sex as a tool-sometimes to gain affection, other times to gain power, until you finally learn to adopt sex as a tool for self gratification and something you share with someone. It evolves.

    It’s all about your upbringing. It takes a village to raise a kid but it takes a hell of a lot to raise a confident girl with a good head on her shoulders. You’re absolutely right; we can’t judge. In some way, shape, or form, we’ve all been there.

  8. hilda Says:

    yes, we have all been there… sadly enough!

  9. Iron Chic Says:

    I read that Evil Beet post…
    commenters are calling her out for having an ad in her sidebar for the Kendra Wilkinson sex video. haha

  10. Calto Says:

    Thank you for this post.

  11. arline Says:

    Just last week, I was hanging out with one of my BFF’s, who moved away from Memphis a couple of years ago, (lucky her).

    She has a daughter, sarah, who I consider part of my own, as these people are like family to me. I asked about Sarah, and while I knew this, I could not believe that she is now 15. That is crazy to me, my little Sarah…

    Well it turns out, that Sarah is now sexually active. OMG. That is not bad or wrong, however the issue I have, is that I know this girl, and her nature is to please and make people happy. Not only that, there is a tremendous amount of pressure for young girls, by the girls as well as the boys, to have sex, in order to be accepted. It is the cool thing to do. My friend Trisha asked her about it, and of course Sarah wanted to deny, and feared that she would be in trouble, but finally owned up, after Trisha promised that it was not about her being in trouble, but that she was concerned about a few issues. There was evidence on the computer, that she was exploring sex, which is quite normal, but Trisha’s husband, somehow found a message from some boy saying “next time we meet, you ARE going to give me a blow job, RIGHT???”

    Trisha is good, and she will give Sarah the freedom to be who she is, but the challenge will be to teach her child how to have boundaries under pressure, and not to do things just to be accepted, The pressure comes from many angles, and it takes a lot of self love and strength sometimes not to give in. When you are young, you often don’t know what you are actually experiencing. Hormones are going crazy, and it can be confusing to choose from a place of intelligence.

    I used to be a visiting artist with in the Memphis City Schools, (my hats off to teachers, as Memphis City Schools SUCK all around), and the teachers told me things that I could not believe. Twelve year olds are having sex, talking about blow jobs, and spreading their legs at the snap of a finger. Apparently it is cool to give blow jobs, in surreptitious places. Only one way of course, girl giving it to the boy.

    I was a late bloomer, and was 18 when I first had sex. To be honest, I was not emotionally ready, I did not really love or for that matter, even like the guy, even though he looked like Johhny Dep ( very cute).

    I was acting under the pressure of all my friends, who had had sex, along with his persuasion. I did not know how to honor myself at the time, and it took years for this to happen. While I was not exploited per se, I did betray myself. many times. I did not know I was doing that at the time, but I was. I just wanted to be loved and accepted. So many people just want to be loved and accepted, and for some reason, just don’t feel it, even if they are, therefore, will do things that counter what their higher knowing or even logic, would be.

    There is such a huge disconnect with so many things right now, just look at our planet, and the last two posts on this blog. It is really sad to me.

    Sexuality and expression of it is only a tiny piece of a really big issue.

    Young people need to be taught how to love and respect themselves, not told that they should love and themselves. If that were to happen, perhaps our world would not be in such a fucking predicament. Maybe girls would not engage in slutty behavior and give boys blow jobs in the bathrooms at school, or even have sex before they are truly ready, maybe we, as a whole would not be so consumed with GETTING things we think we want, at the expense of others.

    Who knows if this is possible. I hope it is.

  12. Anqui Says:

    Thank you, thank you! This is such a great post! Wish teenage girls would read it.

  13. Mary Says:

    Real good post. In our society, it’s usually the woman to blame: she could have said no, she shouldn’t have put herself in that situation, she shouldn’t have worn that, etc. It’s so rare we remember that the fault lies with the person who actually exploits, rapes or coerces.

  14. Maja Says:

    Great post. I love to snark over celebrity sex tapes, but this is just sad.

  15. mutterhals Says:

    “How many women have shameful memories of the time she allowed something to happen against her will?”

    And whose fault is that? Personal responsibility, you should try it some time. I save my sympathy for those who really need it, such as old women possessing the mentality of an insecure teenage girl. You know anyone like that?

  16. Denise (denisekatipunera) Says:

    you’re my hero SW.

  17. thereswaterhere Says:

    I’m still surprised by how many people, even women, that are still victim-blaming. This obviously isn’t about Kendra Wilkinson. Saying that she is a slut and a whore and deserved everything she got and could have said no is like saying that every young woman who doesn’t feel comfortable in a sexual situation is wrong. Instead of backlashing against her because she is most certainly not a role model, address the issue at hand. This is the tip of a very very large iceberg.

  18. thereswaterhere Says:

    Also, SW, great piece.

  19. WendyB Says:

    Thanks for linking to that Evil Beet post.

  20. DDW Says:

    It’s more important to teach men NOT to get to a point where their partner has to be the one saying ‘no.’ It should not be the responsibility of the woman to fend off rapists–instead it must be made clear to boys and men that they CANNOT abuse women’s trust and bodies in this (or any other) way.

  21. Iron Chic Says:

    Okay, THIS disturbs me to no end:
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20100528/lg-sex-parties-100528/

  22. Dru Says:

    To the troll seven posts above me aka She/He/It Who Must Not Be Named: your lame attempts to lead people from here to your pathetic blog aren’t going to work. Next!

    I think part of the problem comes from the fact that women’s bodies- clothed, unclothed, willing participants in sex, or reluctant or even worse, unwilling ones- are things that men seem to grow up thinking they’re entitled to. Hence the frequency of calling women names for withholding sex, and the casual manner in which sexual harassment gets treated.
    Another result of this entitlement: creeps like Terry Richardson and Olivier Zahm. It’s one thing to make a bad sexual decision (like sleeping with someone who’s already committed to someone else), entirely another to be coerced and pressured into it, especially in situations where people like, more than anything, to blame the victim.

    And to all the people saying “she could have walked away”, I say “he shouldn’t have had his dick out in the first place!” How about that, eh?

  23. Make Do Style Says:

    You’ve got to tell your sons what you expect of them and be a mother who makes them be respectful, kind and a good sexual partner. And for your daughters you tell them that pleasure is a two way street and that they are in charge.

  24. Natalie / Fashion Intel Says:

    First, thank you.

    Second, it makes me sad and sick how prevalent these stories are, and I know they only get worse. One of the MANY problems is that girls are conditioned since birth to be a “good little girl”, to do what is requested of her without question, to sit and be quiet … then once she hits 16 her parents all of sudden introduce the word no and how she should use it. Problematic if someone has already been trained to say yes, especially to men.

    People shouldn’t need a Women’s Studies degree to understand this concept (though I would encourage it). It is pretty simple – raise human beings that own their autonomy, have self worth, respect themselves and others and know how to kick the fuck out of some one when they need to.

    Also, stop blaming women for their own assaults and don’t believe in the myth of male weakness.

    Is that too much to ask?

  25. Eliza Says:

    Do you ever think we might be excusing/encouraging this as a sadly inevitable rite of passage when we say, “We’ve all been there”? I’ve never been there. Didn’t date until I left college, didn’t have sex until a year into a long-term relationship at 23, etc. and still call the shots two years later. In real life, I’m painfully shy and awkward yet far too stubborn to be much of a people pleaser. It might’ve made a difference that I’m not a pretty girl, the oldest of three girls, and always considered kind of ruthless, though. Why is it so difficult for some women to allow themselves autonomy? What’s the reward for self-sacrifice? It always seemed like it took more work to play along than to resist like I did.

  26. Alicia Says:

    I’m with Natalie!!! Great explanation.

  27. dust Says:

    Dru- Things you say are all true, but how has that happened that man grow up thinking that? They are not thought that by they mothers? Who can be accused of that?
    I can’t be convinced that predators and abusers are only man and victims are only girls.
    Those kids are victims, they see sex on every corner and they want it too (not because their family thought them so). I think people messed up sex too much, with it being abused from fashion pages to online porn industry.
    Looks like you need to be bloody horny to buy a tooth paste! And who makes the commercials? Their parents, which must provide… You can go back asking till you start suspecting that there is something wrong in a way people conduct their primal urges, when it comes to sex, we’re like animals, when it comes to food, we’re like animals… the creature seven comments above you is not even an animal, it’s weeds.
    If a teenager would ask me for advice, I wouldn’t know to answer better don’t do it!, but a radical answer like that wouldn’t apply…
    I wish your suggestion would work.

  28. dust Says:

    Ah, Make do Style, thank you for your words.
    They should be 11 commandment.

  29. HelOnWheels Says:

    Dear Troll Who Shall Not Be Name,
    Your obvious fascination with SW is pathetic but understandable. However, your continued denial of your fixation appears to have exacerbated your chronic mental instability. Please seek professional help.

    I’m with Make Do Style – we should be raising both our boys and girls with respect for sex, each other, and themselves. Well said, MDS.

  30. HelOnWheels Says:

    PS – I do wonder if these teenaged boys that expect bj’s would change their tune if girls started demanding oral sex as well.

  31. Sheri Says:

    Make Do Style has a good point, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s enough.

    Whatever we think of the powers of our influence on our children, as they enter middle and high school, the pressures exerted on them by those around them, to dress the right way, act the right way, be cool enough or fly enough or hip enough far exceed them.

    Every girl in the world should be brought up with that sense of empowerment, but even if they are, they may be victimized by their desire to fit in, as SW says, to not make a fuss, to not make someone mad — and if someone is really feeling threatened, giving in willingly might seem like the less dangerous route.

    Every boy in the world should be brought up with that sense of respect — and this needs to start when they are children. If you are tickling your son and he screams “stop,” you have to stop. If you tell your son not to do something, and he does it anyway, there has to be a consequence, and it has to mean something to him. No has to mean no, always, just, no.

    But another problem:

    I love my husband dearly. There are times that he wants to make love and I would just as soon read my book and fall asleep quietly with him snoring on the pillow beside me; but there are also times he would just as soon watch hockey on television and he cooks a beautiful dinner for me or drives my daughter to her gymnastics class, or he gets up early on his day off to make my coffee and poach my egg because I have a long day. Am I betraying myself if I “submit” (agree) to lovemaking that I wouldn’t seek out myself in order to express love that I truly and deeply feel? Maybe the biggest problem is that this is such a gray area — have any of you ever not really felt like making love until you’ve kissed and cuddled and stroked each other’s backs and then suddenly you do?

    Finally:

    If you, anybody, doesn’t want to do ANYTHING, you should always say no; and that no should be listened to. And saying “I don’t want to” or resisting says no, and should be respected.

  32. Max Says:

    Off the topic of saying no, but I am constantly disgusted by my gender whenever I’m reminded how many girls and boys were molested and/or raped as children, or as teenagers, or as adults – by MEN. They say rape is about power, and that a castrated rapist would just use a broomstick instead (as opposed to certain species of animals, where “rape” may serve a reproductive function: ducks, geese and certain dolphins.) Probably true, but why don’t power-hungry women go around molesting children? I don’t buy Camille Paglia’s rejection of the contention that:

    “‘No’ always means no . . ..’No’ has always been, and always will be, part of the dangerous, alluring courtship ritual of sex and seduction, observable even in the animal kingdom.”

    “…Masculinity is aggressive, unstable, combustible. It is also the most creative cultural force in history. Women must reorient themselves toward the elemental powers of sex, which can strengthen or destroy…Aggression and eroticism are deeply intertwined. Hunt, pursuit, and capture are biologically programmed into male sexuality.”

    I have no evidence, but somehow I imagine that the rate of molestation and rape among indigenous people is much lower than it is among the civilized. Am I naive? Any answers would be appreciated.

    PS: If you don’t picture dolphins as rapists and murderers, I have some bad news:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/06/health/evidence-puts-dolphins-in-new-light-as-killers.html

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/media/tv/press/990202.html

  33. theresa Says:

    While women my age are beginning to understand this concept…most guys (and of all ages) still don’t get it. I think we’ll continue to be faced with stupid comments along the lines of “she could’ve said No” until men begin to understand the psychology of the sexual victim.

    I think the psycho analytical break down of empathy should be a required highschool course.

    like P.E. or Health.

  34. theresa Says:

    most guys of my age (and of all ages)*

  35. Dru Says:

    dust- I believe parents do have a HUGE role in raising their kids to respect others, socially and sexually (despite the messages from the media and society at large to do otherwise)- children learn their behaviour and pick up attitudes from somewhere, after all. Fathers play as big a role in this as mothers. Unfortunately, there are loads of parents out there who are too chicken to really talk to their kids about sex, or about how it’s acceptable to behave with other people sexually, and it’s not too big a leap of logic to see the kids filling in the blanks with stuff from peers/slightly older kids/the media. I had plenty of classmates in school who never so much as got The Talk.

    Max- I’m not sure what you mean by indigenous people, but at the very least I can assure you that violence against women is alive and flourishing in many, many parts of rural South Asia. They’re not big on women’s rights out there. Maybe if you were referring to people who live in tribes, the answer might be different but I wouldn’t know.

  36. Dru Says:

    Also, the lines start to blur more and more when one is acquainted with the guy whose behaviour one finds objectionable. I’ve put a boot in the head/groin of random creeps who felt me up in the street in the past (sexual harassment makes me furious. Fact.), but getting away from overly-frisky friend-of-a-friend types at parties by “making a fuss”, was really frowned on.

    I’m so, so tired of girls being told to “let it go” and generally be quiet, and then being blamed when they decide not to let it go and speak out.

  37. skye Says:

    “And for your daughters you tell them that pleasure is a two way street and that they are in charge.”

    See, my mother did exactly this – but it wasn’t enough in the face of the massive and vast wall of messages coming from the whole world around me. Likewise, I I was raised as Natalie says to:

    “own their autonomy, have self worth, respect themselves and others and know how to kick the fuck out of some one when they need to.”

    Still not enough, because I was young and I wanted to have sex too – but when you are young and your life experience is small it is hard to know what the boundaries are, difficult to understand when you have the right to take what you want and need. Sexual relationships are full of give and take, but without experience, and with a head full of problematic messages it is really difficult for a young woman or girl to know what should be give and take and from who and when. A few people seem to be taking a slightly holier than thou “I abstain therefore don’t have these problems” stance, which is cool for them – but lots of girls actually want to have sex – just on their terms. I loved having sex when I was a teenager, wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but sexual politics were utterly confusing.

  38. hoochiegucci Says:

    I was totally raped by my ex boyfriend, who I had broken up with about four years before. I screamed no….I fought…he tore my clothes and raped me….

    But what can you do? I accepted a lift home from him willingly, stopped off at his place and went inside for a drink.

    Some would say I was asking for it. I would beg to differ…..but hey, that’s life.

  39. Kate B Says:

    Great post SW you echoed a lot of my long held beliefs and sadly experiences.
    Kx

  40. Cindy Says:

    I tell every young girl and women I know this: “better to be thought of as “rude” or a “bitch” than be raped, hurt or dead”. We are taught to be polite too often as young girls – and it really back fires on us when that thought comes into play in a bad situation.

  41. Felicia Says:

    I think everyone who has said woman and girls need to know it’s ok NOT to feel guilty for saying no, is right. Women of all ages sometimes have a hard time saying no, and I think as a culture, we’re slowly moving towards empowering women and letting them control “no.”

    But there is another point I think a lot of people are missing. As a young woman, it’s hard to say no in an uncomfortable or scary or to new sexual situation, if you’ve never been told that it’s ok to say yes. Sexual urges and sexual curiosity starts much sooner than a lot of us like to admit, but it is a natural part of being a human being and we need to discuss that with young people. We constantly tell them the importance of waiting, and of saying no, and of not putting themselves in vulnerable situations, but what we DONT tell them, is that when you consider yourself ready, mature enough, in a safe environment, and with a partner you trust, sex can be an amazing experience. We don’t talk to them about the positive side of sex, and of growing into a sexually mature being, and so when they are put in situations, it’s sometimes hard for them to tell if this is “normal.”

    My whole point is, sometimes when women (especially teenagers) are about to have a bad sexual experience or in the middle of one, they don’t really understand that this is NOT what healthy sex should be, because no one has sat them down and told them that healthy sex is NOT uncomfortable, embarrassing, or scary.

    I’m not saying we should encourage young people to be promiscuous or unsafe or sexually active at an early age. But we should let them know about the dangers of sex (STD’s, rape, date rape, unfair pressure to have sex, unwanted pregnancy, etc.), AND we should tell them about the wonders of sex (the self knowledge that comes with sex, closeness with a partner, self esteem, the miracle of climaxing, etc.) and let them know they are becoming adults and are going to have to make sexual decisions for themselves. We need to let them know that they have control and it’s ok to say yes if you’re ready and it’s important to say no when something doesn’t feel right.

  42. Felicia Says:

    Basically, I’m on the same page as Skye.

  43. Faux Fuchsia Says:

    In answer to the question “do teenage girls find themselves unable to exert power over their own bodies?” the answer sadly for many is still Yes.

  44. Iheartfashion Says:

    Great, thought-provoking post Sister.

  45. Elena Says:

    Say yes, and you’re a slut. Say no, and you’re a bitch. Thanks world!

  46. Elena Says:

    Also, thank you so much for this.

    People need to realize that it’s not that we need to teach women to say no/dress modestly/don’t get too drunk/stay in a group/take personal responsibility BULLSHIT – we already do that!!!! And always have. Despite which, all degrees of sexual assault still occur – from women being pressured into things they aren’t comfortable with, to rape, to incest, and other violent crimes.

    The problem is we need to teach MEN to respect other’s boundaries ( those of men, women, children, even animals for God’s sake). PERIOD.

  47. Elena Says:

    I would like to second Felicia in saying that many young women and girls truly do not understand that sexual activity should not make them feel bad or uncomfortable or anxious – I think MANY more people than we realize feel that way.

    I waited until I was 18 and in college to lose my virginity and even then I did not actually want to. I felt like I had to because I had been in a relationship with someone for six months. He waited until I was drunk and half passed out, and as soon as I realized what was happening I stopped him. But when I told my friends they just laughed and called me a prude, so I thought it was okay and stayed with him.

    I hear this kind of thing happening to lots and lots of women.

  48. Elena Says:

    Final comment: clearly all perpetrators of sexual assault are not men, and not all men are going to sexually assault someone. But it is still important to teach all men. Women are already being taught about this shit, except we are being taught “close your legs”.

  49. skye Says:

    Jezebel have reposted the Evil Beet post – the comments there are just a depressing endless litany of “me too” stories, seems like this is an almost universal experience. How the hell that actually changes I don’t know. I guess I’ll do my best to teach my son how to interact with women sexually in a mutually respectful way. I was thinking about this, and realised that although my mother’s good grounding for me wasn’t enough to stop me getting baffled and blinded by messed up sexual politics, she did a pretty good job with making sure my brother knew how to handle himself. I still remember she and I sitting him down age 14 and giving him a lesson on “What is the clitoris, and what do you do with it?” (words, diagrams, no demonstrations!) He was much in demand as a deflowerer as a consequence.

  50. Sister Wolf Says:

    skye – Very depressing. teaching your boy is a real way of making a difference. But the fact that this is so universal, and yet up til now such a dark secret, is a bummer. Maybe getting it out into the open will lead to change somehow? That is my hope.

  51. Sad Says:

    Oh hoochiegucci, that is terrible. I am SO sorry to hear that. I had a similar experience in college. It wasn’t so violent, but I remember laying there in absolute fear and having an out of body experience that it wasn’t really happening to me. It was someone I regarded as a friend who I always thought might have a little crush on me. After that night he tried to pretend like our friendship was normal and I did too.

  52. Danielle Says:

    There’s a lot of legal issues surrounding the ‘just say no’ stance. For one, social conditioning and the media has conditioned both men and women to treat some ‘no’s as a word for ‘maybe.’ No one can deny that ‘no’ in a situation involving a masked rapist in a dark alleyway means ‘no;’ but then, no one can deny that some movies depicting a woman playfully saying no while giggling means ‘maybe’ or even ‘yes.’ In fact, there are so many media portrayals of playful women moaning lusty ‘no’s that many men and women are no longer certain when no actually means no–particularly the younger ones. Many states grapple with this issue from a legal perspective as well and, as such, most states have decided that merely saying ‘no’ is not enough to quantify a sexual encounter as rape.

    After some thought, I’ve decided that the S&M community has the rest of society beat by a long run. Instead of ‘no,’ the sanctity of which has been brutalized and mutilated by pornography and R-rated movies, why not just have a safe word? Saying no might be misconstrued as a means to further the excitement by some but surely saying ‘onomatopoeia’ while half-dressed will clearly alert the person your onomatopoeia means no and this no really means no. Think about it: the worst mistakes most women have ever made sexually is sleeping with someone they have no or little understanding of due to a failure to communicate. If we taught all children to slow down, think if they want to have sex, and then tell them they should sit down with that other person and come up with a safe word before going at it, our children would 1) think a lot more thoroughly about sex; 2) communicate better with their sex partners. Sure, it wouldn’t stop a man from forcing a woman if he really wanted to–but at least that woman could go to court testifying that she said ‘yellow’ in the middle of getting undressed, the man heard her, and still went on with it with full knowledge yellow was the safe word.

  53. Sister Wolf Says:

    Danielle – Today, a friend toled me about the time she was raped by a man she’d had some drinks with. She didn’t see the point of going to the police because they’d never believe her. She felt it was her fault, in a sense, for allowing herself to be in a situation where this could happen. And that women need to just learn to suck it up.

    But. What is a man had some drinks with another guy, and ended up being raped by him Would his friends tell him to suck it up? I’m guessing that people would find this srot of rape more horrifying and criminal.

    Pretty fucked up, eh?

  54. Eliza Says:

    I always thought it was interesting how drinking is popularly blamed for victims of crimes but not the criminals themselves. Shouldn’t a man too intoxicated to gauge consent from a woman or control his own libido face consequences?

  55. Danielle Says:

    SW-It’s definitely a huge problem in the legal system. The law used to demand women have physical evidence that they physically fought back though statistics show that women are less likely to fight back because they fear they will be injured in the process; furthermore, women are statistically less aggressive than men are. Many legal analysts who say that women are being judged by male standards when it comes to rape and the expectation that women should risk their lives for their chastity is both unrealistic and outdated–though some feminists argue the law should not encourage the stereotype that women are passive and weak by lowering the standards of rape.

    Rape is particularly difficult because it requires the prosecution show the alleged victim did not want to have sex and the alleged rapist intended to rape beyond a reasonable doubt which is already a steep standard and it frequently comes down to a girl’s word against a guy’s. As a law student, I’ve read many outrageous rape cases–one of which involved a man squeezing the neck of a woman while she cried and begged for her life…which was later interpreted by the court as a ‘heavy caress.’

  56. jlg Says:

    My religious education/ethics teacher makes me mad. She teaches her female students to say no in this situation but she thinks that the male students are immature so they shouldn’t be told about respecting women and not forcing themselves onto women because they might not understand why and be all silly about it, with their “jokes”. honestly?
    she is in a prime position to educate them about respect and she won’t. and due to being a fundamentalist christian spends half the lessons dribbling on with inaccurate information about the bible and SOME 0f the time on other religions, and is disparaging while she does so.
    NOT HELPING!

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