This past weekend, I was at a party with some of my friends. We were all sitting around talking in a back room with a few people that we didn’t really know. During the conversation, one of the people there (a man) made a comment somewhere along the lines of “if I wanted to have sex right now, I could totally have sex right now.” I was taken aback by this statement and wanted him to clarify what he meant. I asked him a very direct question, “If we were alone right now, would you rape me?” He paused, took a second (which was disconcerting in and of itself), and responded “Probably.” Probably? That answer shocked me. And the shock didn’t stop there.
This man continued to go on and say that because I was a girl at a party, I wanted sex and should be prepared to have sex. And because a guy and a girl are alone at a party, it is expected that they must have sex. He also said that we could have sex if he wanted to because he would be able to overpower me. Until now, I didn’t know there were people that genuinely held these beliefs.
Lets take his first claim: that because I was a girl at a party, I wanted sex. The “point” that he made was that I should take into account that when I, a female, leave to go to a party I will most likely have sex with someone there. His claim is that the reason I (as well as other girls) spend so much time getting ready for a party is for the express purpose of impressing men and getting one of them to have sex with me. In a broad sense his argument was that girls exist at parties to be the proverbial playthings of men, something for men to touch and play with, and that I should expect to have sex when I go to a party. This infuriated me. Personally, I like spending time getting ready because I like to look good. I do not dress nicely to woo a man; I dress nicely because I honestly like to look nice. As for the whole “girls go to parties to have sex” thing? That is not true. I, for one, go to parties to be social and hang out with my friends, male or female. Parties and sex do not go hand in hand, nor should they. They are two separate concepts and should not be lumped together into one category. It is sickening that in this society, there are people that hold onto the belief that girls are expected to give it away to some guy at every party they go to. Believe it or not, girls can talk to guys without needing to have sex with them. Crazy concept, right?
Now lets address his second claim: that he could have sex with me if he wanted to because A: we were a guy and a girl alone at a party and B: he could overpower me. What he essentially was saying was that I, a girl, should be prepared to have sex with any guy at a party. And if I am alone with a guy and not prepared to have sex with him, he has the “right” to have sex with me anyways because he can physically override my decisions—and that deep down I still want to have sex, because I came to the party in the first place. All girls must have sex with guys, whether they outwardly want to or not. This left me furiously shaking my head. I just wanted to scream at him about what consent is (which is exactly what I did).
I explained that without a strong and firm, resounding from the rooftops “YES LET US HAVE SEX”, you do not get to have sex with someone. Consent is defined as a voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. If there is no “yes”, assume it is a “no”. And having sex with someone after they have said no? That is rape. And rape is not okay. Ever. My body is my body, my no is a no. Just because a man could overpower a woman and have sex with her doesn’t mean that they should. The damages caused, both physical and emotional, by a man overpowering and assaulting a woman sexually are insurmountable. Sexual assault and rape can cause depression, substance abuse, self-harm, depression, sleeping or eating disorders, STD’s, or even suicide, among other things (according to RAINN—Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). No person should ever have to experience those things just because they were “expected” to have sex with someone and couldn’t say no, or their no was silenced. Rape is never okay.
Let me repeat that for emphasis: RAPE IS NEVER OKAY.
After explaining all of this to that guy at the party, he seemed pretty taken aback by the aggressive woman he had awoken with his naïve claims about his so-called right to sex. And I regretted nothing, because I could potentially have stopped him from assaulting a girl, either that night or on future nights. I hope that what I said got to him and that from now on he would think twice before having sex. Above all, rape is not okay. Consent is sexy; communicate openly with those you wish to engage with sexually and think twice before you decide you need to have sex with that cute girl on the other side of the room.