By Talliah Pilker, Sacajawea Scroll
“She was dressed like a slut. She was asking for it.”
“She sleeps with everyone so, it doesn’t matter if she said no.”
“She was drunk at a party. She should have known it was going to happen.”
Every single one of these sentences is something victims of rape have heard.
And every single one of these sentences is false.
It doesn’t matter what your clothes look like, how much time you spend with men or your level of intoxication. What matters is that you said ‘no.’
You said no and they didn’t listen, but they’re going to blame you because “boys will be boys.”
Men think we’re supposed to do what they want when they want because we’re women. We’re their property or just a toy for them to use when/where/how they want.
We’re small and supposed to be fragile creatures that won’t tell anyone what happened because of their intimidation tactics or fear of shame.
They make us feel crazy by denying it when we report it. Women are tormented from turning in their abusers when they should really be supported.
The years 2017 and 2018 have been the most influential years when it comes to rape culture. Not only are more women coming forward to report recent or past abuse, but women are supporting other women.
It’s been 100 years since we came together to acquire the right to vote, and now we’re coming together to acquire the right to safety and justice.
Yes, women sometimes wear revealing clothing; but that is not an invitation to touch us.
Why we dress the way we dress doesn’t matter. What matters is ‘no.’
Women who sleep with numerous partners do not automatically consent to sex with everyone who asks or tries.
A woman who “sleeps around” can still have boundaries. If you don’t respect those boundaries, she has the right to say ‘no.’
Someone does not have the right to take what they want just because you give it to others.
Women who drink alcohol or become too intoxicated to walk, talk or drive are not capable of consent.
We’re told, however, that we shouldn’t have been drinking or that we probably could have said no, and if we didn’t we probably wanted it.
When alcohol and drugs are involved the story is often ignored because it’s the hardest cases to prove.
But proof shouldn’t matter.
The only proof a judge and jury should need is the fact that you said ‘no.’
Someone who’s vengeful could abuse this; but what about the women and girls who are ignored and harassed because the only thing they can give the jury is the testament that they said ‘no’?
You matter, and your story matters. Intimidation doesn’t matter.
We grow up told that if a man’s mean to you, it means he likes you.
If he’s mean to you it’s because he likes power and thinks he has it over you.
But you have the power.
You have the support system of women worldwide. You have the right to safety and justice.
Most importantly, you have the right to ‘yes.’ ‘Yes’ matters.