In many movies I’ve seen, there are the “hot scenes” – lustful kisses, passionate groping, vases knocked over and clothes that can’t come off fast enough. The foreplay is always perfect. Then comes the “big moment,” with one beautiful transition into the next.
There are no questions or interruptions, just gasps and goosebumps. But I can’t recall ever seeing someone stop in the middle of the lustful roller coaster ride to say, “Yes, we can have intercourse now” or “I do not plan on allowing you to penetrate me.”
Many rape prevention and safe-sex advocate groups chant, “Yes means yes, and no means no,” but there is a lack of real discourse on what consent means. I would like to explore this often overlooked gray area. There may not always be clear-cut moments of communicating and understanding “yes” or “no.”
Sometimes my sister asks to borrow something that I don’t want to lend her. But I suffer from people-pleasing disorder, so I say, “Yes,” when I want to say, “No.”
Recently my friends wanted to meet up, and I didn’t. But then I did, and then I didn’t. I was thinking “no” as my car drove there. Halfway there, I decided I didn’t feel like being around people, so I went home.
Consent can be that fleeting. One second I want something and the next I don’t. I have a right to change my mind, and it doesn’t make my new decision void.
Being intoxicated also plays into this, and thus, it is another issue that should be mentioned when discussing proper consent. Most drunk people can’t decide which shoe goes on which foot, so how can they be capable of giving someone consent to “hook up?”
I know people who have been raped and others who don’t acknowledge that they have raped. If you see wrongdoing, report it, stop it and stand up for what’s right.
We must respect the gray area and understand what’s considered to be proper consent. And it is our responsibility to talk about this and teach others what it really means.
Find creative ways to get the approval to move from first base to second base and so forth. Life is not a movie. Every transition counts.
Hana Abdulla is a junior majoring in public relations.