There’s been so much talk about sexual offenders in the celebrity circuit, I felt the need to address the issue. As a woman who is against the horrors of rape, I also believe that there are so many levels to these accusations and while “no means no,” we do have to start to implement some solutions to help each other. With the recent story of Aziz Ansari hitting the press, I found myself engaged in a debate on Facebook over a friend’s thread. We were clearly not going to agree on our stance in the matter. My opinion was very general, we as women need to work towards preventative measures and start thinking a few steps ahead of ourselves in situations that could prove to be threatening. A little preventative maintenance could go a long way and while it might not save us all, it could definitely help improve our current status with this disturbing growing culture of sexual assault and rape.
Let’s face it ladies, history has proven there are some real creeps out there. As women we’ve had to face misogynistic abuse since the beginning of time. We have been beaten, slandered, groped, harassed, made to feel less than adequate in our jobs and professional environments. We have been sexually assaulted, raped, and forced into demeaning situations sometimes by people we trust the most. It’s no wonder women have had to grow thicker skin throughout the course of time. We have had to earn our respect the same way we are still fighting for same pay equality! No offense to guys I do realize you have your own challenges separate to ours, but as the race that keeps the world evolving, we should definitely be regarded more.
Ladies, we have so much to take into account before that happens. It doesn’t change the fact that we are surrounded by a chauvinist population and we have to set a standard on how we carry ourselves. This means thinking a few steps ahead.
There are so many lessons I wish I knew when I was younger. I wish I had been stronger in my convictions which could’ve avoided me so much heartache, but that heartache served as powerful lessons which have made me the woman I am today. Sometimes we need those lessons to dignify us and give us strength. I wasn’t always smart and put myself in situations that were not favorable. I was pressured into having sex sometimes and while I wasn’t completely sure about going through with it, I realize I did consent to it. Thankfully, I have never had a rape experience. I did however learn to start to think ahead. I would open up to my girlfriends about my experiences and we decided we would “have a plan”. The plan would consist of knowing something could possibly happen if we went out with someone. We could end up in a situation where we were not consenting with them. If the answer is no and the guy is still not respecting that answer, you are left with two options: fight or flight. In other words, run or fight for your life. Both of which I have done and I’m willing to do. I have heard stories about how women freeze up during these encounters and as difficult as that may be, we have to try to program our minds to not allow that to happen.
There are many times we ask ourselves how did we end up here? This is where thinking a few steps ahead comes in...you have to be willing to have an honest conversation with yourself, “Am I willing to go all the way with this guy if I go back to his place?” Because it’s liable he is going to try until that happens. If you are in closed quarters and you don’t like his advances that is when fight or flight comes in. I know it’s not always a black or white situation and there could be so much grey area. Being forced to engage in sexual activity should never be an issue even if it’s your husband. Unfortunately, we have seen these circumstances arise and we have to HAVE a plan. We have to know we tried everything we could to avoid it. My purpose is not to offend anyone who has once been a victim of one of these horrifying experiences. If there is a way to help other women prevent a violation, what advice would you give?
Again, my intention is not to offend or shame anyone with this piece. I would only like to try to make a conscious effort to help empower my fellow women to be stronger and not feel like victims to these circumstances, but rather, to try to prevent them if at all possible. I have had friends stay with me to help me avoid an unfortunate circumstance. I have had friends send me their locations on their smartphones. I have even had friends send me the license plate of the car they were riding in and we always remind each other to call or text when they’ve reached their destination. Whatever is going to help you avoid what could be something very unpleasant. Mainly, think about the objective. Strongly consider exiting a public place with anyone who you don’t know or are unsure of. Listen to your gut. Follow your intuition and don’t overlook it. Be cautious of your surroundings and consider your alcohol intake. Alcohol debilitates our sense of judgement and it’s likely that’s when the worst decisions happen. There may be some situations you absolutely cannot avoid but what if you can? You have one priority in this life and that’s taking care of yourself; your body. You are not obligated to share it if with anyone! Make it a point to be solid about who you are willing to consent with your body. You can always change your mind but until then have a plan and support each other by thinking a few steps ahead.