Consent is a F*ck Yes, or a No
Every woman I know and continue to meet has a past of sexual assault. With all the media and publicity around rape and consent, I'm hopeful a tide is turning. Still, I do not know how to be part of the solution. This is my attempt.
To be clear - I am fully cognizant and aware of the inherent privilege of being a white male, especially given the combat experience and martial arts training I have. I can walk the streets at night, alert but not alarmed. I can drink what I want, where I want, and for the most part, get left alone. I can bring whoever I wish home or go to someone's house without having to fear for my safety.
I don't know of any woman who can say they feel the same about their own welfare.
Bottom line - All I can do is lead by example and make it clear where I stand. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept, and I won't walk past sexist, derogatory, or demeaning behaviour in my presence. I don't care if it's a friend or a stranger; we all need to hold men to a higher standard.
Men. I hate using analogies, but let's be honest, sometimes we need reference materials to understand concepts. When it comes to consent, the tea analogy is my go-to. A decent human being/host will always ask their guest if they would like some tea. There are only two outcomes;
Sure, they'd love tea. Great! Make them a cup.
No thanks, they don't want tea. All good.
If you never asked, you're not about to force hot tea down someone's throat like waterboarding a terrorist in Guantanamo Bay, are you? I don't know about you, gents, but to me, it's pretty fucking simple. Get where I'm going with this?
In the end, there are no grey areas with consent. It is black or white. It is an enthusiastic "fuck yes, I want to be with you", or it's a "no". And just because a woman doesn't say no, doesn't mean it's a yes. And consent can be withdrawn at any time.
Men, you're not stupid. You know when a woman isn't interested. You know when a woman doesn't appreciate your advances. You know when you're forcing yourself against her will. If you can't figure that out, you have work to do.
Just because a girl has shown you interest in a bar, that doesn't entitle you to anything.
Just because a girl has given you her number, that doesn't permit you to harass and abuse her if she doesn't want to see you.
Just because a girl has come over does not entitle you to anything more than she agrees with. Read the situation.
Men, there are women in your life that you love and cherish. How do you want other men to treat those women? Lead by example. Be that man. Raise good sons. Be a good human being. It's not that difficult.