Consent and Consequences

14 Dec

This is not my first blog about this, and will undoubtedly be my last.

But I want to talk about rape culture, sexual assault/harassment, and consent.

It seems easy enough…right? Consent is consent. You need consent. Problem solved.

Wellllllllll…not so fast.

I could even argue that there are some gray lines with rape. But I won’t. Not today.

The reason I bring this up because the words “assault” and “harassment” and “consent” all make me feel victimized, which is not something I like to feel. You are a victim of assault. A victim of harassment. All because you didn’t give your explicit consent. Here are three scenarios for you to think about:

Stranger slaps your ass.
Person you are hanging out with takes your hand to hold it.
1st date kisses you.

All of these have [sort of] happened to me. Does it matter the relationship of the person? Must you explicitly tell them that something is okay…or does it have to happen once followed by a firm “no”?

The reason I ask is because if a stranger slaps your ass, is it consensually different than if your SO does? Most people say well, yes…it is very different but when do you give your consent if your SO smacks your butt? You COULD do an SO agreement like Sheldon and Amy on Big Bang Theory. OR you could wait until it happens, then tell them no, but that kind of defeats the purpose of consent. Finally, your SO could ask if he/she could slap your ass prior to the slapping.

I don’t expect anyone, ever to take such measures. It borderlines crazy.

That is how I feel about things like kissing, and holding hands, too.

Because apparently, if someone kisses you without asking, that is sexual assault? Harassment? I don’t know the difference. I think a strong part of being assaulted or harassed is the emotional feeling it causes, and I can’t say I’ve ever had that feeling from someone kissing me without asking first. I’m not a victim of anything.

I think it adds drama, unnecessarily. I also don’t think it promotes rape culture.

I also think it would be super awkward if someone asked me if they could kiss me or hold my hand.

Person: Can I kiss you?
Me: *looks around* Uh…sure…

Followed by what would probably be the most awkward kiss in the world.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that women (and probably some men, too) are doing so much to make consent sexy. Yes. You should not be forced to have sex against your will. But a kiss? A held hand? I don’t think it is necessary.


4 Responses to “Consent and Consequences”

  1. M at 9:15 pm #

    Sidestepping the issue of rape culture, I’d like to take a look at the larger picture of harassment. To me, it is a continued intentional causing offense. Here’s where it gets sticky though… there are very few clear lines when it comes to what is offensive. My objection is that the term offensive has no clear, set definition. It varies from person to person and often from situation to situation. I believe the push is that the offended gets to set the terms and change them at will… which creates a scenario in which there can be no clear definition. Sometimes mere existence is offensive.

    I don’t know… I’m starting to ramble as it gets later into the night.

    • mishie1 at 9:20 pm #

      That is kind of how I feel. And maybe I was rambling, too.

      All I know is that I get frustrated when people tell me I should feel offended, or harassed, or like a victim. And that is how I feel when people try to push consent for things like kissing onto me. A guy slaps my ass? So what. Much worse has happened, and it takes a lot more to phase me.

  2. April at 5:24 pm #

    I think that a lot of these situations involve a lot of context… I’ve been kissed out of the blue (by a married co-worker at that) and it felt…bad. Not like, “OMG, he was a Saint Bernard trying to retrieve a rogue Reese’s Pieces from his owners purse and should never kiss anyone again!” kind of way, but in that… “DUDE!! DA FAQ?! NO!!” sort of way. There was no intense conversation leading up to it. There was no leaning in. There was no indication that it was coming – I would have stopped it before it happened. It was just…married guy suddenly kissing me. “Assault” feels like a strong word for it, but “drive by kissing” isn’t in the dictionary and I don’t have a better word for it.

    Different people also react differently to things. I don’t think anyone “should” be obligated to feel victimized by another’s actions. However, people need to realize *glances casually at that one friend of my sister’s husband’s* that some things will offend some people and that doesn’t make the offended party an uptight jerk/female dog/whatever.

    • mishie1 at 7:22 pm #

      Drive by kiss. Perfect phrasing.

      You are absolutely right, my friend!

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