As a society we don’t talk about, victims are told to be quiet to protect the criminal, and society often blames the victim. I’m talking about sexual assault. Growing up I never heard about sexual assualt till middle school, till I was 13 or 14 and already knew what sex was, as a society that’s where we have failed. In the perfect world we should never have to tell young men about this awful crime, but as you and I both know this is far from a perfect world.
More often than not the definition of sexual assault and what exactly qualifies is based case by case, and situation by situation. Before I proceed I’ll give you my definition. Sexual assault is any action, word, or text that is sexually intended without the consent of BOTH people. Yes, this includes cat-calling repeatedly and just grabbing a girls hips to dance without her permission. Both things which are often considered just boys being boys. That saying is horrible and should never be said to defend a man who has hurt a woman. I have an older sister and her being in my life and talking to me is honestly the biggest blessing I could have. She’s told me story after story where at the gas pump or ATM a man has said something to her that made her feel invaded or materialized. Every story makes me sick to think she was afraid for her safety.
Words can be sexual assault and I believe society needs to accept this. If a random man comes up to a girl and says, “hey baby you really fill out those pants” that’s not okay. First off, that girl automatically knows your intentions are sexual and she already feels violated. Secondly, that’s not the way to speak to a girl if you want her number. Girls are afraid to refuse a random guy in fear of what he will do. There are several instances of men beating up women who refused to dance with them or give them their phone number. Women shouldn’t have to be afraid to say no.
No means no. “No” doesn’t mean, 5 more minutes, or keep going, or maybe, or yes. No means no. No means, stop I’m uncomfortable. Also a girl coming to your house or in your room is not consent. Consent is her saying, “yes.” If at any point in time a girl says, “no” that means stop. It doesn’t matter if both of you are butt naked, no means no.
As a young man I say it’s time we stop allowing sexual assault to happen. I say we stop glorifying athletes who are known sexual offenders. I say we understand no means no and we stop saying boys will be boys. As a young man I will take a stand against sexual assault.