• Factivists

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.

What happened?

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.