The One About The Importance of Revocable Consent

You may have noticed I’ve been absent for awhile. More likely no one is actually concerned, because I think the only people who read this are folks who know me IRL. But either way, I wanted to get back into blogging, and I feel like the conspicuous gap in my posts should be explained. I also think this is an important thing to talk about, much as I don’t much care to talk about it any more.

This is probably where I should put a TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE.

I would guess no one is surprised that it was interpersonal drama that ate me alive and kept me away from this blog. That happens to me a lot. I am pretty used to it by now, but trying to get out of the cycle is mind numbingly difficult. I understand the process now; how my own emotional issues contribute to it. I am too desperate for affection and affirmation, which makes me latch onto people more easily and more tightly than is healthy. I am also very socially inept, which means I have a tendency to accidentally fuck up relationships, and that I am bad at recognizing when relationships start going south. I don’t have a very good model for what is a healthy, sane relationship.

Still, knowing it has not helped me see what is happening while it is happening. I am still working on that bit.

In this case, though, I stumbled into a new kind of badness: sexual coercion.

An individual I was sexually involved with, who shall remain unnamed, had been placing steadily more pressure on me to put out. Interestingly, and frighteningly, he apparently had no idea he was doing it. Many of my friends did notice this, looking on from the sidelines, but it took me quite some time to notice, and he never did. Even once I tried to tell him this, he just couldn’t accept it.

In my particular case, I was contributing to the coercion. My insecurities, my emotional addiction, my passiveness, and a whole slew of problems I’ve got all tangled into each other, kept me from asserting myself and telling him straight up that i did not want to have sex with him anymore. In fact, even if I couldn’t bring myself to say it outright, if it weren’t for my attachment disorders and everything, I would probably not have caved every. single. time.

The longer things went on, the less I was able to say no to him, or say much of anything to him. I certainly couldn’t tell him I wanted out. I wound up lashing out passive aggressively without even noticing it. He did, though, and instead of asking me what was going on, he just acted like everything was normal. I can’t hold that against him, since it’s exactly what I do under stress. But I’m a little worried about the fact that he thought I was being mean and horrible to him, but was still perfectly happy to get drunk blowjobs out of me.

That’s the other thing. Almost every time we fucked, I was drunk. And he was not. That should’ve been a red flag to me, but I managed not to notice until much later.

It got to the point where I was so nervous about being around him, I would get drunk almost every time. Which then led to having more sex, which led to more nervousness.

Also, apparently he found me very annoying when drunk. But not annoying enough that he didn’t want to fuck me.

So, that was months of dubcon, basically. Which I consider to be both of our faults. While he was the one abusing me, I was the one enabling the abuse by actively preventing him from knowing something that might make him stop the abuse.

Not very healthy, that.

Finally, things culminated in actual rape. Which brings me to the part about revocable consent.

See, our culture has some big problems with how we deal with rape. Particularly, how we conceptualize it, which informs everything else. When we think of rape, we think of a big strong man snatching a woman off the street, holding a gun to her head, and forcing himself upon her while she screams and cries. We might even think of sleezy frat boy slipping a roofie in a coed’s drink at a party. But there are many, many things we don’t think of.

That night, I was drunk. Very drunk. I got drunker than I should have, took a few Klonopin, and drank some more. And then everyone else went to sleep.

I was drunk enough that I initiated things. I suggested an activity we had not yet engaged in. But on the condition that we talk about things first, because I had been trying to talk to him about some important things for quite some time. He talked me out of that. Then I said he had to wear a condom. He talked me out of that. Then I tried to back out at the last minute. And he ignored that.

And while he did it, I just lay there. I didn’t say or do a thing, until he asked me if it felt good, and Autopilot took over. I had to tell him what he wanted to hear. I couldn’t upset him.

I said yes.

That is the part I find the most repellant.

That, and the fact that when I tried to tell him this later, he did not see that as rape. We agreed on all the facts of how it happened, just not on the conclusions. I find that alarming. And then he told me I was delusional, and a monster.

I am afraid that in our supposedly enlightened modern society, most people consider consent somewhat irrevocable. Even before that night, I believe the coercion occurred because he considered my previous consent to be blanket permission. If I would suck his cock once, why would I not want to do it again? Whenever he wanted me to?

Even though he didn’t hold me down, that was rape. Even though I didn’t fight back, that was rape. Even though I started things, that was rape. Even though I said it felt good, that was rape. Even if it had felt good, that was still rape.

It is important to talk about that. It is important for my story to be out there, for anyone who has been through something like this, to know they are not alone. For anyone who is at risk, to know what could happen, and know they can say no. And for anyone who could commit rape, which is everyone, to know that this is not alright. That if they do this, it is rape.

Have you seen those PSAs that say “rape is a man’s issue”? They’re wrong. Rape is everyone’s issue. Anyone can be raped, and anyone can commit rape. And the only way to fight this is to be informed, to talk about it, and to debunk the myths.

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~ by onetiddlyridley on June 24, 2011.

4 Responses to “The One About The Importance of Revocable Consent”

  1. I completely understand what you have been through and what you are going through. I fight with myself everyday and hopefully I’m on the upper end of the fight this time. I have always had this desire or need to please people that have been in my life or even those that I just met. My family were all fucking crazy, dad a meth-head and abuser, mom jealous and allowed her boyfriend to molest for years etc… I always wanted to make sure that everyone else was happy even if I were not. I couldn’t say no, and when I couldn’t say no I would lie..lie..lie..lie pretty much about everything. I didn’t want anyone to know the real me, in my head it was keeping me from truly being hurt. My lying eventually led me into being an escort/upscale prostitute… I was seriously fucked in the head at the time. I had been dating this guy that I was so in love with but I knew he didn’t feel the same and he has some of the same issues you and I both have as well. Anyways, going into your rape… While I was whoring I never did drugs and never have other than smoking weed really, but every now and then I liked to take pills. Well one day I was “working” and I had some xanx.. I took like 3 bars which is A LOT for 120lb girl.. I had this guy come in my room and I started to feel the room spinning, I had seen him probably 5-6 times before this. I started to get undressed and so did he.. Once we started to get in the act of it I blacked out. I don’t remember shit. What I do remember is asking him to stop at some point and he didn’t… I woke up and there was a condom next to me on the bed, and obviously he had finished. I feel for you and I hope that all the people like us eventually are able to get through the bullshit and make the CHANGE. The change we need to be happy, not normal we will never be that but happy people…. Love ya lots(even though I don’t know you)

  2. A wholly over-generalising observation I want to make here is that this kind of reasoning is quite common among men. I don’t know whether it’s to do with their level of libido or their self-confidence or something else, but once the woman gives the man an opening for sex (pun totally not intended), it’s very hard to talk the chap out of it.

    I can relate to your autopilot, and I wasn’t even drunk to justify some level of incapacitation. It stems from an irrational need to please, even when completely unjustified, even when I know that saying ‘no’ is not going to more than momentarily displease him, even when I am completely certain that it is something I do not want to be doing. Yes, it is considered rape, because the man has once again put his needs above those of his unwilling/incapacitated/incapable-of-saying-no partner. Part of being together is understanding the reluctance behind the ‘yes’, right?

    I think things have gotten a bit better for me since then. Although my self-esteem could still use a lot of work, I am forcing myself out of that helpless victim mindset and drawing the line, sometimes forcibly, to ensure I don’t inevitably go into that guilt spiral again. It hasn’t hurt my relationship (power is equally balanced), and it has done wonders for my confidence and conscience.

    Rape is a very complicated issue beyond the traditional “no means yes” definition. More people need to accept that.

  3. I realise you’re not interested in discussing this, and you certainly needn’t approve my comments, but for the sake of completeness I just wanted to add that I was being a little blind in just saying ‘men’, and would like to extend the purview of that comment to homosexual relationships and encounters as well.

    • I’m actually perfectly comfortable discussing it, just haven’t gotten around to your comments yet. I’m very aware of how common that reasoning is, and it certainly seems most prevalent in het cis men who’ve been trained to think about sex, and about rape, in a certain way. A way which is not at all conducive to proper, informed consent and open, honest relationships.

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