In the U.K., the Thames Valley Police likened consent to a cup of tea. If a person denies a cup of tea, you wouldn’t just pour it down their throat.
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.
Going to a Church school doesn’t automatically protect us from sexual assault. A lot of girls that I have met have experienced some form of assault, harassment or sexual violence while attending BYU-Idaho.
In today’s society, there is a stigma to victim blame and ask them what they were wearing or say “they must’ve gotten themselves into that situation.”
The fact is, it doesn’t matter if I was dressed “immodestly” or watching a movie with one other person.
I was not “asking for it” when I was sexually assaulted last year in a dimly-lit parking lot wearing a sweatshirt and leggings.
I was not “asking for it” when someone put their hand up my skirt at a Halloween party.
Sexual assault or abuse is never the victim’s fault. As young people in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there can be a sense of shame that can be felt after an incident, feeling that we should’ve stopped things, that we aren’t worthy when something like this happens.
It doesn’t matter what the victim was wearing, what was said, what they were doing beforehand or where they were. No one is ever asking for it.
Only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police, according to RAINN. That means about 3 out of 4 assaults go unreported. I was scared to report those who assaulted me. I blamed myself and I didn’t want them to get in trouble. I soon realized that if I didn’t report them, they would do the same thing again to another person.
Instead of blaming victims for what they may have been doing or what they may have been wearing, let’s control ourselves.
Consent is given. It’s reversible and continuous. If it is not an enthusiastic yes, then it is a no. If consent was given for kissing, it does not mean it was given to push further.
“No“ does not mean “convince me.“
If you or anyone you know is experiencing sexual assault, abuse or violence, click this link for help and further information.