By JAMIE VERWYS
Do you like that? Does that feel good? Do you want me to keep going?
These are questions we can ask our partners to obtain their consent. Consent is actually really sexy but it is much more than that. Consent is a requirement.
On average, 237,868 people were victims of sexual assault every year between 2008-2012, according to a U.S. Department of Justice survey. In America alone, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes.
In order to demolish the rape culture that society has created, we must cultivate a consent culture. This is an action that everyone should take to make the world a safer place.
We can’t allow victims to be shamed and we can’t ever justify rape.
Rape culture is a term that originated during the 1970s to tie sexual violence to common attitudes and practices that excuse, trivialize and in some cases encourage rape.
Humanity is not blind to this epidemic and has often asked how we end rape. But considering the current culture, it is no surprise that sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes.
Claiming victims were “asking for it” because of what they wore makes no sense. We all have exclusive right to our bodies. In no way is it acceptable for people to punish someone for not dressing to their standards.
Twitter user Steenfox surveyed victims, and found many were wearing pajamas or work clothes. One wrote, “Pink princess pajamas. I was 6.”
Another excuse is that a person was flirting so sexual assault was their choice.
No one is entitled to sex just because they are dating someone, or were simply engaged in a conversation.
Many victims of sexual assault, such as children, are completely incapable of saying no.
Merely accepting sexual violence as integrated into our society or unavoidable perpetuates rape culture.
Change starts with us.
Commit yourself to learning what consent sounds like. Have open, honest dialogue with your partner about sex. Consent is a clear, vocalized and positive yes that comes without any coercion.
Never forget that consent is given and may be revoked at any time. If it seems like someone is beginning to feel uncomfortable, show respect and back off.
It is our moral responsibility to protect each other. When we commit to making consent the norm, we are taking a stand against sexual violence.
Verwys is an advocate of the sex positive movement and believes it is imperative to create a safe space for victims to heal.