This Week we’re trying something new, as we were struggling with this topic on our own. Four of us have teamed up to answer some questions and dispel some myths. This team up is coming to you in five installments:
Today being the first. We have a blog of myths today
Tomorrow we’re answering questions
Wednesday is more baffling myths
Thursday even more mind boggling myths
Finally Friday we have a ‘What if..’ question that we are going to answer.
Warning: Talks on Rape and Sexual Assault
Meet the four of us involved in this big collaboration:
I am a victim of sexual assault. I am here for anyone who needs anything. I will not turn a blind eye to sexual assault. It’s not one person’s, one gender’s, or one age group’s issue, it is everyone’s issue. It is global, it is common and it is scary, we need to feel safer to come forward and report our assault not hidden in the darkest corner of the shadows. No one should ever be alone in their struggles. – Marie Olsson
I am a victim of sexual assault. I may not be with you in person, but I am with you in spirit. If you need me, I will be here. Whether it’s a comment, a question or a message, I am here to help. Never feel you are alone because you are not. It’s time to speak up and try to break our fears. I am here, we are here. – Ivybelle Teller
I am a victim of sexual assault. Though it has been a number of years since it has happened, I still have the compassion to help. I will also love to listen to your stories, comments and questions. – Madison Taylor
As a child, I was molested by someone I thought I could trust. Since I was so young, I didn’t quite understand that what was happening was wrong, but I didn’t feel it was right. Turns out I was correct. I hope to educate children, and adults alike, so that they know that what may be happening to them is wrong and that it’s okay to talk to someone about it. – Lynn Rascal
Sexual assault is not a common problem.
Marie: Growing up I believed that sexual assault or rape only happened once to a person if it happened at all, I wish that were true. However I have been raped countless times by multiple men, most of which I had called my boyfriend or friend. I have been sexually assaulted by strangers, by classmates and by men I held dear to me. My idea of how common rape is that I had built in a bubble of childhood innocence was shattered at a very young age, I wish that that idea was true though. Rape and sexual assault should not be as common as it is. In 2009 Canadian women reported 472,000 sexual assaults, according to Statistics Canada. That number alone is heartbreaking; however to make things worse only 6 out of 100 incidents of sexual assault are reported to the police. Sexual assault is more of a common problem then you think, it needs the attention and awareness to help those who are suffering. Every victim should have a voice and every voice should be supported.
Ivybelle: It’s more common than people think. It is just that social media or school don’t bring it up because it’s either they don’t see it as a serious issue or the subject is taboo. To a lot of people sexual assault is not a big deal because it’s considered like “sex” but it’s not.
Madison: Sexual assault is a common problem but not every victim speaks up. In all honesty I did not speak up about my assaults until 8 years later. It’s not a common issue brought up in social media or in public education, but that does not mean it not any less important or common. Sexual assault is a very touchy topic to discuss and not everyone is open to it.
Lynn: Honestly, it is a bigger problem than people realize, what with victims keeping quiet out of fear. People could lose their jobs and even disowned for speaking up. Hell, even Ke$ha is losing face over talking about her sexual assault. Plus with rape culture practically becoming normalized on social media sites, the problem only continues to grow.
Women say “no” but they mean “yes”.
Marie: No means no. In what world does the meanings of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ get reversed when it comes to consenting to sexual activities? This is utterly absurd, no is never yes. Someone who thinks otherwise is living in a bubble of denial about word definitions. I honestly don’t know what to say about this because all I want to do is give dictionary definitions and yell profanities at people who think this way.
Ivybelle: No doesn’t means yes, it means no. People tend to forget that when someone says no, it’s because they don’t want it. When you are putting your wants and needs before someone else’s rights, it is not right. For some reason this whole “no means yes” thing is science… no means no, it’s not science.
Madison: when it comes down to it no matter what you may think no is no. As soon as someone says no any sexual activity should stop, otherwise there is no consent from both side. There’s nothing more you can really say for that because really it’s common sense no mean no, nothing else.
Lynn: Well, the dictionary says that the definition of no is “a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal of a question or request” Hmmm…nothing about it meaning yes in there. When someone says no, they mean no. NO if, ands, or buts.
People who get drunk or take drugs or don’t take personal safety precautions shouldn’t be surprised if they are raped or sexually assaulted and must take some of the blame.
Marie: Wait, what? What this is saying is if I am not sober at all times and constantly on guard for being sexually abused I am at fault? How does that even make any sense? Just because I am not walking around wearing a shirt that says I do not want sex or introducing myself with “hello I am Marie, and no I do not consent to sexual activities at any point tonight.” does not mean I should take partial blame for my sexual assault. I don’t know what part of sexual abuse or rape people don’t understand but a women never asks for it or is to blame. I could be absolutely naked in front of a guy but that does not mean I consent for him to touch me or anything more. No one should be even partially blamed for being assaulted because to an outsider it could have been prevented if the victim was proactive in preventing it. As a victim of sexual abuse when I hear these comment it feels as though you are making a personal jab at me. As a victim I repeatedly asked myself what I could have done to prevent these attacks and why me. I what if the situation until I drive myself mad. But realistically with the fact that one’s sexual assailant is likely to be someone they know (and trust) you could feel safe and it still happen.
Ivybelle: Really!? I don’t understand how this could even make sense. A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol isn’t aware of what they are doing. Whether someone is sober or not and they want to have sex with someone who is under the influence, regardless if they say yes or no it’s still not acceptable. Mentally, the person is not there, they have no control over their body or what they say, so yes it is rape. Even if the women/men flirt or come on to you the other person who is sober shouldn’t take advantage of the situation because they might regret it the next day or feel used. No one can blame it on the victim because of the influence.
Madison: when it comes to this one there are rule set in place so thing like this don’t happen. No one under the influence of either alcohol or drug can consent to any sexual act, because they aren’t in the right mind space to do so. I will not sleep with my partner if he has had a couple drink in him, even if I know he would consent to me but how do I know if he really will say yes. It all comes down to safety, not just for yourself but for the other person to.
Lynn: Definitely not. People drink or take drugs to enjoy themselves, not to constantly fret over whether there’s a rapist lurking about. That’s like saying people who get hit by cars and get critical injuries should take some of the blame for not wearing protective gear while crossing the street.
If a man pays for dinner or a movie, the woman owes him sex.
Marie: No the woman owes him nothing besides a thank you. Paying for the date does not mean sex is owed to him. If you want money spent to sex get yourself an escort.
Ivybelle: No. If a man plans to pay for dinner or a movie, a woman does not owe him anything. Back in the day, a man would take a woman out on a proper date yet she wouldn’t have sex with him. Back then there wasn’t such thing as sex before marriage. Why would a woman owe man sex now? Unless the woman and man wants to have sex, she doesn’t have to.
Madison: I’m sorry this I find hurtful to no existent. Yes I believe in 50/50 but that does not mean I owe you anything. No one should owe anyone sex, sex is supposed to be something special between two people you care about. It’s almost like if I say yes to a date you owe me the most expensive dinner.
Lynn: Nobody owes anyone anything for acting like a decent human being, sex related or otherwise.
Women secretly want to be raped.
Marie: There is a big difference between roleplaying and rape. No one wants to be raped, this rumour is ridiculous and I have no idea why anyone would think this.
Ivybelle: I don’t know who started this “rumour”, but this is 100% false. There’s a difference between being raped and rough sex, BDSM, S&M. Rape is when someone doesn’t want it, when someone takes advantage of someone. Rough sex or other, is when there is consent.
Madison: No person in their right mind want to get raped. Rape is having their whole body violated. I was raped and I never want to go through that feeling again.
Lynn: I highly doubt that. Consent exists for a reason; to confirm that a person does in fact want sex. Rape is sex without the other’s permission/consent, meaning they do not want sex.
Men cannot be sexually assaulted.
Marie: Rape is not just a female problem. Men and boys can also be raped or sexually assaulted. 1 in 10 adult men have been sexually assaulted (estimated) and a majority of their assailants were heterosexual men. On top of that by the age of 17, 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused.
Ivybelle: Yes a man can be sexually assaulted. It’s not only women or children. I know multiple guys that have told me that they did not want sex from a woman or a man, but they were forced into it.
Madison: Yes, a man can be just as assaulted as a female. Like I have said it’s not about what action were took but how they were forced and not consented to it. Male have just as much rights to say no as females do. When it comes down to it males have a most difficult time being able to identify the assault let alone help find support for it.
Lynn: Yes they can. Men can not want sex and are just as likely to be violated and/or abused as anyone else.
We’d love to hear your opinion on this what if question and if to you there is still consent.
“Q: What if someone verbally consented to a sexual act, whether it was kissing, taking their shirt off, or having sex, but later, when they were in bed and making out, felt unsure and only said yes because the other person was pressuring them? Would you still consider that consent?”
We’ll be sharing our opinions on this on Friday!
Thank you for reading!
Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow for more. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment leaving your opinion on any of these myths, our responses or any questions you may have. If you can think of a myth you’ve heard and haven’t seen here please don’t be shy and leave it in the comments.
Marie Olsson, Madison Taylor, Ivybelle Teller, and Lynn Rascal
Disclaimer: Everything stated here is opinion and may not reflect everyone’s views.
Women Against Violence Against Women. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.wavaw.ca/mythbusting/statistics/>.
“Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada.” N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm>.
“SACHA » Statistics.” SACHA » Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2015. <http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics>.