Today, I want to talk about something serious. Something that has broken my heart and inflamed my anger many times throughout the years. We’ve heard the outcry about rape culture, and how we need to wake up and take a stand against the passive, permissive approach we take to avoid pinning that four letter word to unsolicited advances.
As a woman, I want to make a simple, public statement:
If a person, male or female, declines or says no in any way, shape, or fashion to your advances, and you persist… it doesn’t matter if they “give in” or later concede. You’re raping them.
I was reading a few articles today that talked about rape culture, and the notion that a woman’s actions can be the blame for the result. While I agree certain situations can be avoided, there is never a point where a “no” fairly turns to “yes”.
A problem I see in society today is that women often blame themselves for situations that should have never transpired.
“I had been drinking. I wasn’t thinking straight. I should have never gone to his room.”
Maybe not, but you pushed him away. It should have ended there.
“After the first date, he tried to invite himself in. It made me uncomfortable, but he seemed really interested in me and he seemed like he cared. When he asked me to dinner the next week I went, and then we watched a movie at his house. Well, things happened… I didn’t want them too, but he was insistent. It’s my fault for letting him get away with it. I don’t know why I gave in, but I did.”
Let’s be honest here: the first time someone declines your advances is the final answer. Anything that comes afterward is a direct violation.
I’m not a psychologist or a sociologist. Not by any stretch of the imagination. However, I fear our culture nurtures a level of submissiveness in women that causes them to fall victim to situations they never wanted to be a part of. The role of the submissive wife is a traditional one dating back centuries. It’s not a new concept or idea. It’s only within the last few decades that women in America have carved their rights to forge self-reliance and independence.
I see the submissive influence in my life. When I worked as a manager of a retail store, it would show itself in peculiar ways. Especially when I was giving my staff directions. Despite owning a leadership role, I found I would ask instead of instruct:
“So-and-so, will you tend to this customer, please?”
“Hey, can you set up that standee for me? Thanks.”
Jokingly, my staff would sometimes tell me “no” which I would quickly respond with, “Let me rephrase myself: Have this task done when I get back in thirty minutes.”
However, I would always pause and wonder why I always asked them to do things, as if permission had to be granted. The answer originated with my mentality. I was raised to be polite; to ask instead of demand; to listen without interjecting; to be polite and to make other people proud. They are positive attributes most of the time, but the belief that the man was in charge has not eluded me.
I believed it.
Even in my personal relationships, I place a lot of faith in my male counterparts. I realize my boyfriend (Charming) is someone I look up to. Despite being a 26-year-old woman, I often catch myself looking at him as someone stronger, smarter, and wiser. Not to say he isn’t strong or smart or wise, but when I stop to think about it, I can’t help but wonder what makes him better?
Nothing. We should be equals.
Often times I fear women are too quick to please a man. While I’m lucky to have a better half who has the utmost respect for me and my dreams and desires, I think there’s something our culture needs to grasp:
No woman should feel the need to submit to a man’s desires over their own.
In the wake of this discussion with rape culture, I felt the need to start a conversation. Men, women, what is your viewpoint on this subject? Do you see submissiveness and the neglect of acknowledging “the first no” being an issue within your culture today? If so, what steps are you taking to change it?