He was clearly making advances. It was clearly indicated that this was headed to the bedroom but I knew I didn’t want to do anything. He told me he didn’t have a condom and suddenly relief poured all over me. If he didn’t have a condom then I could use that as an excuse to not have sex.
How sad is it, that I felt I needed an ‘excuse’ to refuse sex? That I couldn’t simply say no and expect him to stop what he was doing? That my first option was to find an excuse rather than saying no and risk being forced.
No means no.
That didn’t stop him though.
Both the excuse and me saying no didn’t stop him a few hours later.
Apparently no didn’t mean that no that day. Not to him anyway.
The mass molestation in India with the corresponding hashtags: #NotAllMen and #YesAllWomen on Twitter got me thinking about this. I appreciate #NotAllMen are rapists. #NotAllMen take advantage of women. #NotAllMen play with women and hurt them. But #YesAllWomen have experienced this or will experience this.
I have been forced to have sex when I was in a relationship. I have been sexually harassed by a friend. I have been taken advantage of when I was vulnerable. I was spiked not too long ago. I have been sexually assaulted. And yet, I am the one who feels dirty and ashamed of this.
Why? Because we teach women to feel this way. We teach women how not to get raped rather than teaching men that pressuring advances are wrong. And we are told that we simply shouldn’t have put ourselves in such situations. That if we find ourselves in those situations then we’ve probably done something wrong somewhere along the lines.
Society has told us that it’s our fault.
Not all men do these abhorrent acts and some men are, indeed, victims. However, all women do lead lives fearing that, one day, we might get raped. One day we might get assaulted. One day we might get physically or mentally abused.
The friend who sexually harassed me couldn’t understand why I felt scared in my house with him there. He thought he was having fun. The ex-boyfriend couldn’t understand that me having sex because I gave in to him pestering me was wrong. The guy who sexually assaulted me genuinely has no idea that he did, he thinks he did nothing wrong. That I wanted it.
But I didn’t want it. I said no.
#NotAllMen don’t understand the word ‘no’. But #YesAllWomen understand and fear the consequences of saying ‘no’ to men in this 21st yet still very backwards century.
I’m still standing though. We all are.