26 Aug Consent gained through coercion is not consent
Consent gained through coercion is never consent.
You should never feel guilt or shame just because you want to say ‘no.’ If someone tries to make you feel that way, or makes you out to be unreasonable, selfish or prudish when you stand up for yourself, this is straightforward manipulation. Learn to recognise this type of behaviour for what it is: a sign that you are in an emotionally and sexually coercive situation.
9 Ways women can empower themselves to say No
- Know that you have the indisputable and unequivocal right to say ‘no’ at any time and in any situation. At any stage. Consent is not a grey area.
- Believe in your right to set your own boundaries. Walk away from any person who doesn’t respect them.
- Learn to recognise emotional and sexual coercion when it starts. If someone starts trying to make you feel guilty, ashamed, unreasonable or selfish, walk away.
- You don’t owe anyone sex (or anything else) because they bought you dinner, or even because you are dating or in a relationship.
- Flirting does not mean ‘yes.’ When somebody says that you ‘led them on’ and that they are only reacting to your signals they are trying to shift responsibility to you. That is not okay.
- If you find it difficult to say ‘no,’ practice in other areas of your life. Start saying ‘no’ to other things you don’t really want to do, and learn to trust the strength of your inner voice.
- Alcohol can play a big part in impairing inhibitions and can sometimes turn a ‘no’ into a perceived ‘yes’. Pay attention to how much you’re drinking, and notice if the other party is encouraging you to drink more than you would normally like to.
- Always make sure you have an exit plan. Make your own transport arrangements and let people you trust know where you are.
- Be vigilant. Perfectly nice dates can quickly escalate into something you’re not expecting.
Keep these tips in mind and be safe. Don’t underestimate the long term consequences of a rash ‘yes’ when you actually meant ‘no’.