Thursday, July 7, 2011

Silence means No.

I recently posted a blog from a friend on the R.J. Twitter feed about rape - and what exactly means "No."

We've heard "No means no."  But what about other things?

What about:  "I have a boyfriend."

What about:  "You're drunk."

What about:  "I'm not sure if I want to."

What about:  "You're hurting me."

What about:  silence.

It was the one that struck me most. 

When I was fourteen I had this boyfriend.

I didn't know what I was doing and he didn't either, but it was silence. 

I never said "no".  I never said anything.  I just... went away.  Or I was... just there. 

There are times when we don't know what to say.

Times when we are afraid that saying something will lose us someone, or something.  Something we think we can't afford to lose and so we say nothing.

We are silent. 

We allow whatever it is that is happening to happen and we think that because we were silent we aren't hurting anyone and we're keeping ourselves innocent.

We didn't agree to it.  It happened TO us.

And we are keeping the person doing it from getting upset, from leaving, from knowing that we don't know what the heck we're doing.  That we're really much too young or much too scared or much too lonely or much too blinded or whatever it is... silence...  it means "not ready".  It means "afraid."  It means "unsure".  It means "don't leave me."  It means "No."

Because doing something for someone because you think it's what will keep them around isn't doing it for "love".  It's doing it for obligation.  And that's a resounding NO. 

It doesn't have to be about sex.  It doesn't have to be called "rape".

It can be about him putting his arm around you too hard at the hockey game.

It can be about him making you do things you've never even heard of in the movie theatre.

It can be about sneaking around because he'll leave if you don't.

It can be about hurting yourself or other people to keep him.

It can be about hand holding or kissing or heavy petting or oral sex or elaborate touching or him watching you take your clothes off or asking you to write specific letters or send specific texts or take photographs you were embarrassed about taking.


You can't speak.

You don't know what to say.

You're frozen.

It means


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