In light of the Sexual Consent and Awareness Week the university are currently running, I felt an urge to get involved and do some good in the way I know how, writing.
The ironic thing is, when you think about spreading awareness on this topic, you feel almost stuck for words. The fear of sexual violence is so prominently spread amongst females because we know the statistics show the likelihood of this happening to us in our lives is disgustingly high (1 in 4), and not only that, but if it doesn’t happen to us it will almost definitely happen to someone we love. Saying this, male statistics also show the likelihood of sexual assault being disturbingly high (1 in 6). All in all this just demonstrates a horrendous reality that we live in.
You can’t tell us that we live in a world where rape culture doesn’t exist and that our safety is guaranteed. When I was five years old my step-mother was teaching me to shout ‘fire’ instead of ‘rape’ if I was attacked so people would take me seriously, and how to hold my keys so I could use them as a weapon to jab if I ever get grabbed. This is not abnormal, ask any girl, maybe even many males; their parents would have given them the same or similar safety lessons. I was only five years old and I was being taught to defend myself, because the sad reality is that if I don’t, no one else will. It makes we wonder how many attackers were sat down at five years old and told not to attack or sexually violate another human being? People are not born evil, abusive, rapists – they come from this disgusting breading ground that has derived from a society which prefers to victim blame instead of address the root cause.
The awareness of consent and sexual violence I want to spread today and I think should be spread more often is not to the victims, but to the potential attackers.
No one owes you sex or anything for that matter. Someone else’s body is not yours to touch without permission. Nothing permits rape or sexual assault after someone has said no – Even if they are naked they are not asking for it. No one has ever been ‘asking for rape’ to happen, because rape/abuse is unwanted, unconsented, undeserved and unprovoked no matter what the circumstances. Alcohol or any substance does not blur the lines of what is rape/abuse – being drunk will never be an excuse to violate another human being.
If someone tells you no, stop immediately. If they are unconscious that is a no.
Basically if you touch someone who has said no or is unable to say no, then that is sexual assault. There is no grey area.
The more we educate our children on what is moral behaviour and how to treat each other with respect, love and decency, the brighter the future will be. Consent and sexual violence awareness should be on our school curricula from primary education onwards, and especially throughout secondary school and college. Teach it repeatedly, show victim testimonies, discuss all circumstances; we should be doing everything within our power to drill into the mind of every single child in this country, that they have no right to touch another person’s body without their specific consent. As much as the statistics show how many victims are amongst us; the number of attacks is just as high and these are not monsters who live in a fantasy world and pop out of nowhere; these are humans just like you and I, who grow up amongst everyone else, and yet our society does not use this upper hand to prevent rape and abuse in the first place by educating potential perpetrators to be better and to act morally.