Consent Rules

1. No = No. If a partner says it, believe it. Otherwise you will be turning your potential lover into your victim. It isn’t someone else’s responsibility to set our limits. If someone doesn’t say “no,” it certainly does not mean “yes.” Continue reading

Rape Prevention for Girls and Women

When I address high school girls and college women I begin by telling them about male socialization. Most haven’t heard the truth about male socialization, especially from a male. Very often as I talk, some cry, most get very quiet. Previously they have been taught to ignore their instincts; not to identify abuse that they have suffered as abuse; that the greatest danger is from a stranger; and that it is nearly inevitable that they will be assaulted. Their only hope, they have been taught is: Continue reading

From Rape to Sexual Assault

One of the most prevalent misconceptions about sexual violence is that it is sexual. The big lie is that the perpetrator couldn’t control himself, he found her so attractive that he had to…etc. This suggested that rape was an outgrowth of some instinctual genetic imperative. Individual men were seen to have no control of their individual urges. The notion that rape is sexual (biologically-based, hardwired) and not a misuse of power discounts and denies the perceptions of survivors who did not think of their experiences as sex (or sex gone slightly awry) and is slander to those males that do not assault. Activists rightly identified the reality of the actions of individuals existing within the context of a rape culture. Individual perpetrators are responsible for their own behavior. Continue reading

Rape. What is the Problem?

Historically, female power was feared by male-dominant power systems. These systems attempted to control and suppress female sexuality as one way of subverting women’s autonomy. The false and unfair dichotomies of Madonna/whore or good girl/bad girl define the only officially-sanctioned models of allowable female sexuality. In a workshop I presented years ago, a high school girl responded that she was “screwed” either way if she said “yes” to sex she was called a slut and if she said “no” to sex she was called frigid. This pernicious double-standard has existed for many generations. Continue reading