Rape Culture refers to the normalization of sexual violence and rape in our society. Often when an individual comes forward as a survivor of rape their manner of dress, mental state, motives, and even personal history are called into question. Phrases like "boys will be boys" or "they asked for it" place the blame on the survivor and perpetuate the social acceptance or normalization of rape.
From Monday, September 19 through Friday, September 23 we will be unearthing the reality of rape culture and we will be exploring how it appears in our everyday lives, in the media, and most importantly, how we can end it.
All sex should be consensual sex.
Consent means everyone is clear about what’s going to happen next, and they agree to it. Consent must be a continuous conversation. This means checking in with your partner(s) before any sexual activity occurs and during the activity to ensure participants are completely interested in continuing.
You can stop at any time, you can change your mind, and just because you said yes to one thing doesn’t mean you have consented to anything else.
Understanding consent is as easy as FRIES.
Freely given. Doing something sexual with someone is a decision that should be made without pressure, force, manipulation, or while drunk or high.
- Reversible Anyone can change their mind about what they want to do, at any time. Even if you’ve done it before or are in the middle of having sex.
- Informed. Be honest. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, that’s not consent.
- Enthusiastic. If someone isn’t excited, or really into it, that’s not consent.
- Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean they’ve said yes to others (like oral sex).
Blair Imani is a Black American Muslim activist living in Brooklyn, NY. Blair is the founder and Executive Director of Equality for HER.