Consent: No means No
Sania Merchant, a university student from India writes about her experience with rape culture
noun [ U ]
permission or agreement obtained from someone or something having the authority or
A heavy word that is thrown around often affects everyone every day, yet
respected by few. With peer pressure and harassment on the rise and people raising awareness about #TimesUp and #MeToo one would expect people to be more aware, more supportive, gentler when it comes to consent. But that, unfortunately, is not the case.
Every day women and their consent are ignored; whether it's direct as a man
dismissing a women's "No" by saying “she wants it subconsciously but is too shy to
admit", or even pressuring a girl again and again even until she says yes
by using the excuse of "Oh, she is just playing hard to get."
And this is not an issue that a minority of women and even men are facing, but at
this point of time and rate everyone has faced some form of harassment at one point or
My friends have faced it, my neighbors have, my acquaintances have,
the random girl who just got cat-called on the street has; you name it, they faced this.
Chances are you or another reader faced it too.
I faced it too: I faced it an hour ago when someone slid in my dm's asking
personal and really private questions. Even after I said I'm uncomfortable with replying
to those questions and mentioned that I'm a minor, [he didn't stop]. And that's when I called him out.
He justified it by saying, "Age is not a big issue and I thought like
other girls you were playing hard to get and with a bit of pressure you would agree to
it too. Not a big deal"
He. Actually. Tried. Justifying. It.
"Not. A. Big. Deal."
Those are his exact words.
His "not a big deal" made me feel so many emotions.
Violated. Dismissed. Worthless.
It invalidated my emotions and my consent.
This is not the first time something like this happened to me. Probably won't be the
last time. And if things don't change women will have to go through
it again, today, tomorrow, day after that and after.
We shouldn't even have to be going through this is in the first place. But we are.
But no more.
Call them out. Point out how their actions made you feel. Tell them No means No.
Stare back at them if they state at you.
Don't let them walk over you.
This matters. Your consent matters. You matter.
And this is a big deal.