You Made It Unsafe For Us To Say No And Leave.
I said no, and he just hurt me harder.
[TW/CW: r/pe culture, r/pe, assault, physical violence, murder and slut shaming.]
- “Come on, give him a kiss goodbye! It’s rude not to.” (From 2-years-old onwards)
- “He teases you because he likes you!”
- “Men are just more sexual.”
- “She shouldn’t have been wearing that kind of make up.”
- “He would never do that, he’s a really nice guy.”
- “Are you sure he meant it that way? Maybe you just misunderstood what happened.”
- “If he pays for your dinner, then you owe him at least something.”
- “If you don’t do it everyone will think you’re a prude.”
- “No means try harder.”
- “I’ll convince you.”
- “You’ll change your mind when you see how good I am.”
- “You don’t really know what you want.”
- “Women don’t really know what they want.”
- “Come on, just try it for a minute — I promise you’ll enjoy it.”
- “If you don’t do it, I’ll tell everyone you did anyways.”
- “She said no but he kept going.”
- “She rejected him and he r/ped her.”
- “She rejected him and he slashed her face with a knife.”
- “She rejected him and he pushed her into traffic.”
- “She said no and he hit her.”
- “She tried to run away but he found her and killed her.”
- “Boys will be boys.”
- “She was sending mixed signals.”
- “Did you do anything to make him do that to you?”
- “Why were you nice to him if you were scared?”
- “It’s not r/pe when it’s your boyfriend or husband.”
- “Well it was your third date.”
- “Why did you go back to his place?”
- “Just stay still, you’ll enjoy it soon.”
- “I love it when you say no — it makes me want you more.”
- “We can’t stop now, I’m close.”
- “It would have never happened to you if you hadn’t stayed out so late.”
- “Stop crying, it’s a turn-off.”
- “Don’t leave, we can do something else.” (We didn’t).
- “So you’ll fuck all the assholes but not the nice guys? That’s why women like you get r/ped.”
- “You deserved it for being such a tease.”
- “Well it would have never happened to her if she wasn’t such a slut.”
- “That’s not really r/pe, he just used his fingers.”
- “Well then maybe you should just avoid all men instead of being a victim.”
- “Why, are you a dyke?”
- “But you already got me hard.”
- “Nothing happened” (After finding semen and blood on my inner thigh).
- “She was asking for it.”
- “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”
- “Not all men are like that.”
- “I’m a feminist, I love women.”
- “She’s just looking for attention.”
- “She just wants her 15 minutes of fame.”
- “Men can’t be r/ped.”
- “Lol, who would r/pe your ugly face?”
- “If you really loved me you would let me do it.”
- “If you don’t do it, I’ll find someone else who will.”
- “No one will believe you anyways.”
- “Stop crying.” (My mother at the police station when I reported being sexually assaulted).
R/pe culture is a part of general culture. I wrote each of these quotes because I have heard or read them throughout my life as a part of my own experiences, on TV, in film, and in other forms of media. They reinforce violence against vulnerable people, they reinforce r/pe culture and make it more difficult for individual victims/survivors to establish their boundaries and leave safely.
Sometimes I stayed, I “let it happen” because I thought I was supposed to. I knew what “no” felt like under the weight of someone’s violence. “No” didn’t matter to some of the men I let into my life. “No” made them try harder, it made them hurt me harder. What Aziz Ansari did I’ve experienced about eight times as a teen & later in my early 20s. Cishet men ignore all the signals: discomfort, tense muscles, pulling away, verbal cues and more — not only because we/they don’t learn about consent but because so many of them seem to enjoy our discomfort.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve simply had sex because it was safer than pushing the person away and saying no, or I was too tired to keep saying no, or I felt like I owed them for being kind, or I thought I was supposed to always say yes because we were in a relationship. You simultaneously teach us to trust men and distrust men all together and expect us to be able to survive when you teach cis men that non-men aren’t their equals, that we aren’t really even human.
I couldn’t always leave because I wasn’t taught that I could. And when I tried, I ended up hurt anyways.
[Note: I write r/pe instead of including the “a” because the word itself can be triggering for victims of assault.]
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