“We need to move away from the oppressive myth that rape and assault only happen in violent fits of rage”

Every woman has been a little bit raped’: the complicated politics of ‘No’ - Elizabeth Skoski,@rolereboot (emphasis added, as always)

We need to move away from the oppressive myth that rape and assault only happen in violent fits of rage, a narrative that reinforces the idea that “real” rape is uncomplicated and straightforward.

Content warning: rape and sexual assault

My friends and I are telling the types of stories that only come out with a combination of drinks and late nights. We’re telling stories of embarrassing moments and awkward experiences and first times, circumstances surrounding the hows and whys people rounded the bases.

The more we talk the more it becomes clear that somewhere along the way every woman has picked up a story of when “no” didn’t cut it, when “no” wasn’t quite enough.

There is the story of when a boyfriend didn’t accept a “no” and whined, begged, and cajoled for weeks, repeating rumors that others had done it and that the girl was being childish. “No” turned into “yes.”

There is the story of consent given once and then ceasing to be a question and becoming a definite, pushed further and further, hands on the back of her head, guiding it where she didn’t want it to go while watching movies in the basement, fingers probing places she didn’t want under a blanket.

There is the story of protestations met with pouting, moping, intense arguments and debates in which partners try to man-splain away reservations, with reminders that she’d already agreed to it so it was silly and stupid to go back on promises.

Consent, we lament, was supposed to be simple: Just say “no,” they’d taught us in health class, in those very-special episodes of popular TV shows, and that was supposed to be the end of it.

But it wasn’t that way, I discover as we talk. “No” wasn’t easy. “No” wasn’t simple. “No” was messy and difficult and confusing.

More often then not, we didn’t say “yes” but it didn’t matter.