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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