This is the definition of consent: permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
Recently in the news, there’s been one sexual assault accusation after another. High profile celebrities and politicians are being thrown forward in this revolution of people fighting back on sexual assault with the hashtag #metoo. Most recently, Melanie Martinez has been accused by Timothy Heller of sexually assaulting her back in 2015 after two nights of Martinez begging Heller to engage in sexual activity with her. Heller at first kept saying no but eventually, Martinez won her over and assaulted her. Heller was scared to come forward with her story because she eventually stopped saying no even though she didn’t want to do it. Martinez argued, saying that she never said no. That’s where she dug her own grave, according to Heller.
Not saying anything is not consent.
Let me repeat that: Staying silent and not verbally saying anything is not and should not be considered consent.
We’re unfortunately in an age where people believe that if someone doesn’t verbally consent, it’s okay to proceed to have sexual relations with them. This is a reason why many victims of sexual assault never come forward because when they do, the verdict will usually end up being against them. People would say, “well why didn’t you tell them to stop or push them off of you?”
There are a lot of reasons why...the victim could be too scared of the repercussions that the assaulter might do to them, they might actually care for their assaulter and don’t want to hurt them, they could be in a state of shock, the list goes on. The bottom line is if a person does not want to engage in sexual activity, whether they verbally say it or not, then it is not consensual.
As a result, we are seeing a wave of sexual assault victims coming forward and finally demanding the justice they deserve. They’re the Person of the Year for Time Magazine because of the revolution that they started. More and more people are speaking up and against sexual assault and are rallying the nation behind them in support.
While there are still unfair rulings in some cases, as long as we keep fighting against it, the victim will overcome this horrible act. We all need to keep reiterating that if a person does not want to engage in sexual activity, that is not consent, if a person doesn’t verbally say anything, that is not consent and that consent can be taken back at any time.
Sexual assault can happen to anyone at anytime and it can be by anybody; a family member, a friend, a significant other, a stranger, anyone. When a person sexually assaults someone, their social status immediately goes out the window. It doesn’t matter if they’re a celebrity or a politician or a professor, they are now a sexual predator. And they need to face the consequences of the disgusting crime that they committed.
Speaking up is hard but if you don’t, nothing will be resolved and the attacker wins. As a nation, we can fight to eliminate this crime and bring justice to its victims.