She Didn't Say No, But She Didn't Say Yes: 28 Phrases Every Man Needs To Understand

She Didn't Say No, But She Didn't Say Yes: 28 Phrases Every Man Needs To Understand

How to listen for signs of consent.

Sexual assault is a complex issue- but consent really isn't. It comes down to reading your partner's body language, responding to their verbal cues, paying attention to how they're feeling, asking them for their permission, and respecting their words.

Even in the smallest of ways.

When we envision sexual assault, I tend to envision a woman being pinned down in a back alley attacked by a masked man. But most of the time, that's not the case. 7 out of 10 acts of sexual violence are committed by someone you know, and more often than not, it doesn't happen in back alleys- it happens in the bedrooms at parties, on sidewalks outside our apartments, in movie theaters when you don't quite know what to say.

Even if your date isn't kicking and screaming, listen- because they still might be saying no. Consent is informed, enthusiastic, specific, and freely given. Listen to your partner. When in doubt, I'll give you some hints as to how to respect us and our bodies. Even if you think you don't need them, you might.

1. "I'm tired" means no.

2. "I have a boyfriend" means no.

3. "Maybe later" means no.

4. "Not right now" means no.

5. "I have to study" means no.

6. "We shouldn't do this" means no.

7. "I don't know how I feel about this" means no.

8. "I like you, but..." means no.

9. "Let's just go to sleep" means no.

10. "Don't touch me" means no.

11. "Please stop" means no.

12. "Stop doing that" means no.

13. "I'm not interested" means no.

14. "Get off me" means no.

15. "I'm busy" means no.

16. "I'm not sure" means no.

17. "We've been drinking" means no.

18. "You're not my type" means no.

20. "I changed my mind" means no.

21. "I'm not in the mood" means no.

22. "I don't know you" means no.

23. "I don't feel like it right now" means no.

24. Even if I say these things laughing, it means no.

24. Pulling away means no.

26. Shoving you off means no.

27. Still, unresponsiveness means no.

28. Silence means no.

In every way, in every language, no means no.

Rape is not respecting NO.

Next time you're in the heat of the moment, remember to check for signs of consent. When in doubt, silence means no.

Make sure to ask your partner how they feel. Not only is it respectful- it's sexy.

Cover Image Credit: The Zine Guide

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My Broken Fairytale Part IV

Unhappily ever after...

[Continuation and ending of Part I, II, and III]

Joseph was only the beginning though. Another vivid memory was my forced interaction with a man named Vincent as I speak to you now. Another scar that I’ve wished to erase from my mind but was unsuccessful. It happened when I was working at a pet store. Our relationship was purely professional in the beginning until we became comfortable and more casual with each other. We spoke of inappropriate things: sex, fetishes, physical attraction. I made the mistake of complimenting him. I was simply trying to be nice, however, he believed something else.

I went into the basement of our workplace, preparing the small gray cart with food for the animals that were displayed on the floor. I was in the middle of grabbing hay for the chinchillas when I suddenly felt my hair being pulled back tightly. I turned back to find Vincent. The look within his deep brown eyes wasn't malicious, but lustful; animalistic even. He pressed himself against my rear, retreating slowly to bang hard against my behind. He repeated it, his hand still wrapped around my ponytail. His fingers snaked themselves into my mouth, attempting to make me suck on them. I couldn’t do anything but I go along with it. My body went limp, unable to protest and losing all my words of objection. The only thought in my head was, ‘if I give him what he wants, he’ll go away.’ He than pushed me down, forcing me on my knees as his other hand unzipped his pants. He exposed himself to me and shoved his member into my mouth.

My body was numb, becoming a posable doll for his amusement; a puppet for his own pleasure. He groaned, he still keeping my head in place to take in as much of him as he desired. It happened in a flash, within a minute or two, and he spilled into my mouth. The taste was disgusting; the taste of raw egg yolk and acid. He sighed happily, zipping up his jeans and walked away like nothing happened. And I, still on my knees, couldn't move. As if I was paralyzed, my mind unable to compute what had happened. He was still in my mouth, lingering as the slimy hatred that seeped through my skin and into my soul. I ran quickly to the sink and spat any trace of him.

I told you I was hesitant in telling you this. This isn’t what would happen in a Disney film and I’m sure as hell this kind of thing isn’t in any fairy tales I’ve read. But it happened. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of. I lost all respect for myself and let my body to be used however they pleased. I’m still attempting to pick up what I glued back together from the aftermath. From James to Joseph to Vincent, I lost pieces myself along the way and I’m not sure I’ll ever get them back. However, after a while I began to wonder: if I got those pieces of myself back, would I even recognize them?

Author’s Note: You must be wondering why I decided to share this. I chose to tell you my story because I want others to avoid my mistakes, and the signs I was too blinded to see. I want people to learn that sometimes what you think is love really isn’t. That you may have good intentions, but others could abuse it or mistake it for something else. Take heed in this tale, and, hopefully, your ending won’t be like mine.

Cover Image Credit: Unknown

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I'm Not A Hookup Girl, And That's Okay

The days will pass, and I will think: this could be love.

“What’s your favorite place in the whole world?” I ask, breaking away from the kiss.

The boy I’m with has no words.

“What’s your best friend like? What’s your happiest memory?”

I look away from the unresponsive boy and run my hands over his skin, unable to meet his blank eyes. I know that’s not what this is. I know what I signed up for.

But that doesn’t stop me from hoping.

Every single time, I know what I'm getting myself into. And every single time, I hope that maybe, just maybe, this time, it will be different. That this time, the boy I am with will change his mind and want more and want everything.

That this time, I will be enough to change his mind.

The days will pass and my airways will tighten at the thought of him and the feeling of his lips on my neck will still light me up inside like flames to skin and I will think: this could be love.

It never is.

It's all just a lie I feed myself to keep myself sane. As he traces circles on my skin and I let him, just to bask in the warmth of another person’s body. As his lips meet mine and I imagine putting on his shirt in the middle of the night as I walk lazily into his kitchen to make some tea. As his hands go lower and lower and lower and I wonder why the only person I want to be with is the last boy I truly loved, who is not the one touching me at the moment.

This. This is never love.

It’s all pretend. But, my god, it is the loveliest pretending I have ever known.

How wonderful it is to belong to someone. To have a home, even if it's just for a night. How wonderful it is to let myself go under and believe that this could be it. That this could be constant. That these could be the arms I could run to at the end of a trying day.

How lovely. How wonderful. How gut-wrenchingly, heartbreakingly false.

When it comes down to it, I know I'm the one to blame. It’s my fault for looking for love in all the wrong places. I’m not going to find it in the drunken haze of a frat party or under the violet lights of the club or in the 3 a.m. text messages that say “come over.”

But is it wrong to hope that someone will prove me wrong?

Because I’m starting to realize that that’s what I want. I want someone to prove me wrong. I want someone to fall too hard because that’s the only way I know how to fall. I want someone to fight for me.

And I want it to matter.

I don’t wish to do anything if my heart’s not fully in it. Including my relationships. Especially my relationships. I care too much, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to know the little things, like their favorite place, and the big things, like that one moment when they got everything they ever wanted, and I want to know these things without wondering if they’re telling me all of this in hopes of getting together at the end of the night.

My happiness is not in the temporary bliss of hookup culture.

My happiness is in feeling my heart clench at the very sight of someone’s smile. My happiness is in catching my breath at the accidental brushing of fingers. My happiness was in him telling me about his family and his beloved high school memories. My happiness was in the prospect of something more.

My happiness is in the wait for what I deserve.

My happiness is in loving myself enough to stop settling for the wrong people.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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