Content warning: This post deals with sexual assault, and may be triggering for some people.
I recently read an article published by Clementine Ford titled Was It Rape? In it, she detailed another woman’s story who had been harassed by a man she worked with for weeks. In it, the woman had tried rejecting the man multiple times and he kept questioning why she wouldn’t have sex with him.
Apparently, some men don’t get no. Apparently, some men don’t get no, even when a justification (that shouldn’t even be necessary) is given. Apparently, some men feel so entitled to women that they will not accept no as an answer.
In the end, the woman of this story (which you can read more about here) eventually gave in. She let the man have sex with her. While she let him, she was unwilling in the whole act and had begun to feel afraid about what might happen if she continued to say no.
But was it rape? That’s a question this woman still asks herself, years later.
Several people would argue it wasn’t – because she agreed.
But did she really?
If you were afraid, confused, and harassed – your voice and rejections continually ignored – does your yes actually mean anything?
To me, it doesn’t. To me, if someone experiences such excessive harassment, I’d identify it as coercion – and, in Australia, that would be counted as rape.
However, what if I apply the same logic to myself – in particular, my second ‘boyfriend’. (I’ve mentioned him briefly before – he was the delightful human being who told me he loved me, then dropped me home one day, ghosting me out and telling my best friend at the time I just wasn’t pretty enough. Real classy guy.)