This may not be a popular opinion, but let me say as someone who has:
- Been sexually assaulted
- Went on dates with guys who ended up wanting nothing more than sex
- Own a vagina and a brain
I don’t really care. So let’s begin….
By now I am sure just about everyone has heard about the accusations being leveled against Aziz Ansari. “Whistleblower” Grace shared a detailed account of a date gone bad via a babe.com article that shaped her as a hapless victim with — apparently — the communication abilities of a young Helen Keller. She repeatedly leaned into something called a “non-verbal cue” to prove her point, which left just about anyone outside the mime community scratching their heads.
I was watching a clip from The View in which Whoopi Goldberg and Meghan McCain openly discuss their concerns about the way this story has been framed, and the damage it could do to women who have actually been victimized. They really wanted to know what consent means.
To me, it’s not difficult to define.
If you go one a date with someone, it means you are open to the idea of developing a romantic relationship (in either the near or distant future – up to you). It may only take you a few seconds into the first or a few dates to realize that you are no longer open to a romantic relationship, if this is the case, at that moment – you should end the date. If you choose to continue the date(s), you are implying you are still open to a romantic relationship (still in the near or distant future – your choice). Excellent, now assuming you are still on this date, you are now actively dating this person.
When two people are actively dating, they are bound to progress their relationship sexually (in the near or distant future – 100% in your hands)
When this moment happens, here are the steps to consent. You MUST select A or B for each number, but at any point you can change your answer from A to B.
A. You are comfortable with this, go for it.
B. You are not comfortable with this, move away and tell him NO!
- Date leans in for a kiss
- Date moves his hands toward you to touch your body
- Date moves his hands towards your bare skin
- Date begins to take off his/your clothing
- Date begins to engage in sexual acts
If at ANY POINT you answer or change your answer to B and your date ignores you – FIGHT, RUN, AND CALL THE POLICE you have just been assaulted.
The fact is, non-verbal cues don’t stand up legally or among species that are able to understand basic commands. I have three well-behaved rescue dogs and spent a lot of time training them – they want nothing more in life than to make me happy and do good so they can earn treats. But, they still like to jump all over me when I come home. I can “non-verbally” push their little paws off of my legs, sigh heavy and tell them they are being annoying but this does not stop them. All it takes is for one loud “NO” and they all three move away and sit still. I can’t even ask that the dogs I’ve spent years with to learn to read my mind, but you expect some random guy you don’t know to understand you’re non-verbal cues?