Sexual Assault: Sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent by the victim.
This is a topic that has been discussed frequently in the past few years, especially on college campuses. Consent seems to be a pretty simple concept. If a person says no, then they mean no and all activity should cease immediately. However, some people don't see the situation as being so black and white and say that sometimes the line between yes and no is blurry. So, allow me to make things as crystal clear as possible. No means no. Always.
What I have heard from many guys is that the girl will have sent "mixed signals" which makes knowing what she wants and what is acceptable confusing and unclear. One example of this is that a girl will say no but in a "non-committal" voice and continue to move in a way that suggests that she wants to say yes but is "playing hard to get."
So how exactly can you decide whether or not to keep going? Again, it's simple. If you hear the word no, stop everything. It does not matter how she says it because she still said no. And if she didn't say no, but she also didn't say yes, then you should just take it as a no so that there is no doubt. It is better to be safe and ask for explicit consent then to just guess and regret it later on.
This allows the line to be drawn and explicitly clear for both parties involved. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, make sure that both of you understand what is going on. Make it clear that if one person says stop, then that's what will happen. If you want to continue or do something, then each person involved needs to verbally consent to it. By doing this and consistntly checking for reassurance that everything is okay, trust and comfort level are being built and strengthened.
Sexual assault is happening every day and something needs to be done about it. To put it into numbers, here are some statistics:
- Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted.
- 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
- 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
There is some good news, though. Since 1993, sexual assault has decreased by more than half. Now is the time to join the movement in helping make people more aware of sexual assault. Now is the time to start talking about it instead of seeing it as taboo. Now is the time to use your voice to speak up for those who are not being heard. Now is the time to help decrease the number of sexual assaults even more. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Be active, help make a change and always remember that no really does mean no.