What does “No” mean to you? Most importantly, what does the word no mean to the person you are being intimate with. Ironically the word, sometime has little to no effect when used in the bedroom. People will push limits to see how far they can go, ignoring the word completely.
Its interesting how I still have conversations with people who have strong opinions about rape and or sexual allegations as a whole. These conversations prompted this blog post.
Whats constantly questioned is how the victim allowed the situation in the first place. I’d like to start off by saying, we all at one point or another make an initial decision. Initial decisions are influenced by emotions, hormones, ideas, standards, or even expectations. But at any given point, we have the right to change our mind and say “no” and or use body language which implies a no. The problem arises when our voices are not heard. Maybe when the word no is said, it sounds playful to the other person. However when the word no is said, the result should not fall on the victim. A lot is involved in this encounter and these situations often are judged, the victim is blamed because she didn’t fight or use other tactics to enforce her words. But what is the point of our words if we are not heard? And from a young age little girls are told not to fight back, and be a lady. Body language plays a big role as well, the body shows when it’s closed off and vice versa. I believe that at any given moment anyone is allowed to change their mind. There are many different reasons why the victim may not have acted forcefully in the beginning. We all come from different socio-economic status, cultures, backgrounds, upbringing, and religions. Which means, some people were raised to speak up for themselves while others were not taught to assert their rights and instead were forced to ignore. Some grew up with people not listening to them and have gotten used to such dismissal. Many factors are involved in this ever so controversial interaction, but the big idea is if a person expresses denial in any form, there shouldn’t be a hesitation to stop.
I also dislike hearing people say things like, “well look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it”. Do you really think people ask to be dismissed, disrespected, hurt, mistreated, and undermined? Again I believe no matter the outfit, a woman has the right to wear whatever she pleases. A short dress, a bra, no bra, a v neck shirt, or whatever else she desires assuming the outfit is not hurting another. As women we experience so many double standards that keep us limited and are kept in old social ideals.
The word “no” is powerful, heavy, and important. How about instead of blaming the victims, we teach our children to speak up for themselves and let their voices be heard. It is more than ok for a little girl, lady, or woman to use her voice without being labeled bossy, controlling, emotional, unbalanced, rude, or uptight. Society has pushed these ideas upon us, which explains why so many females have quieted their voices and gotten used to being dismissed. In Malawi, Lilongwe they teach girls the power of consent in classrooms throughout the country. Simang’aliso Domoya teaches girls from ages 11-16 self-defense and self-empowerment classes. She has the girls repeat mantras like, “I am beautiful but I am powerful” and “Don’t touch me, respect my body”. Domoya teaches both verbal and physical self-defense in order to reduce sexual violence and assault but most importantly empowering them.
On the other hand, as teachers, parents, and or guardians we also can make an impact on teaching our boys, young adults consent. This goes both ways and at an early age, we can make an immense impact on how males interact with females. Teaching respect and boundaries early on and teaching our children the meaning of no can make a meaningful impact in our society.
So why don’t we create a movement like this? Lets raise, guide, encourage the feminine development. Rise up and speak out even if people judge you. The more we all speak our truth the easier it is for everyone to get used to. Get used to what? Get used to women having a voice no matter what. As you can see, there were many aspects discussed in this one blog. From sexual violence, consent, culture, upbringing, socio economic status, and feminism. Experiencing any lack of consent, changes you as an individual. It takes away your power and changes the way you view yourself. As a woman who has gone through lack of consent, I went through the 5 stages of grief. I didn’t tell anyone because of all of the stigma that is attached to the word. I didn’t even label it until a decade later. I learned through guidance and therapy to reclaim my power and fully accept what happened. As the #MeToo movement unfolded I started to realize how much this was happening to so many people around me. As women we hold the power and I believe we need to know this as young children so that we know how to express it later on in life. Women empowerment is big and in your face now, I want to help keep it going. Lets see more Serena Williams out there and reclaim the Devine feminine power.