Consent

My girlfriend found the following cartoons on Facebook and I think they are so apt that I'm making them the centerpiece of my blog today.  If you are wondering about ways to metaphorically explain why consent is so important and so necessary, check out these 'toons:

There were a bunch of comments on this thread on FB about how these metaphors have NOTHING whatsoever to do with a woman's right to consent to have sex or to not have sex if she hasn't consented.  Thankfully, most of these posts were shot down by other posters.  

The comment that bothered ME the most was when one poster wrote, "Who goes around 'borrowing' vaginas? Who ends up in a situation where they don't KNOW that they're involved in some sexual interaction?" 

I replied: Me.

I was molested and raped by my ex while I slept.  I guess he thought of it as 'borrowing' my vagina and the rest of my sex organs.  I never woke up (except the last time) and I never knew that it was going on until after the last time.  Psychiatrists and therapists have all figured that I have some sort of dissociative disorder because I slept through the assaults time after time.  I don't frankly know why I slept through them, but I did.  Sometimes I would wake up aroused in the morning or with images of him on top of me and I'd ask him if he had touched me during the night and he always said no.  Which turned out to be a lie.  Most important aspect of this is that I never gave consent for this kind of interaction between him and me.  It was unwanted and abusive.

Almost more disturbing than his doing it were the four or five straight women that I talked to at the time who said that their male partners helped themselves to their bodies on the regular. "But you talked it out first, right? You gave consent, right?"  No.  They hadn't.  It was just a normal, understood part of being partnered to a man.  I was appalled.  None of my straight female friends were.  And they thought I was blowing my situation with my ex waaaay out of proportion.  

As did my therapist at the time.  I still remember her words.  "He may have done this to you, but he's still the man you know, that you married.  He's not a monster."  

Because of these women and their lassaiz faire attitude toward consent, I didn't press charges on my ex.  And I've regretted it to this day.  I did think I was blowing it out of proportion.  Turns out, 17 years later, I wasn't.

Consent matters.  Consent matters in all areas of collaboration, interaction, cooperation.  But especially where the power dynamic is supposed to be even, consent matters even more.

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