How Do You Know If It’s Sexual Assault?
Locker room talk. Flirting. Masculinity. Aggression. Compliments. Boys will be boys. In the US and abroad, we’ve developed language to describe what we see, how we feel, and to describe situations. As a natural course in society, often we say things we don’t mean or confuse the purpose of that language. A particular phrase that seems to be coming up more frequently (praise be to the Liberal Internet that we are putting it out there) is “sexual assault”.
And I get it, sometimes it’s hard to know when it’s sexual assault. Let me break it down for you:
Is it sexual assault when a drunk woman is blacked out and has her clothes removed?
Is it sexual assault when the same drunk woman is raped behind a dumpster?
Is it sexual assault when someone pinches your ass while standing on Bart?
Is it sexual assault when that same person leans over your seat, puts their hands on your shoulders and tries to kiss you?
Is is sexual assault when a husband forces his wife to perform fellatio or get hit in the face?
Is it sexual assault to grab a transwoman’s breasts to “see if they’re real”?
Is it sexual assault when a woman in a position of power coerces, blackmails or manipulates a man into having sex?
Is it sexual assault if your uncle honks your boobs or smacks you on the dick at a family BBQ?
Is it sexual assault when your best friend tries to take off your clothes in front of everyone at their birthday party and you have to push them off of you?
Yes, and actually it was sexual assault even before you had to use physical force.
Is it sexual assault when someone is made someone else’s bitch in prison?
Yes, almost all of the time.
Is it sexual assault when an overblown jackass with bad hair grabs you by the pussy?
Yes. Yes. Yes. He should be shunned by all society.
What’s the lesson we’ve learned here? Sexual assault is a combination of coercion and lack of consent. It’s not about whether you want it, it’s about whether you gave your permission.
It’s almost like our bodies belong to no one else but ourselves and other people do not have the right to do things with our bodies that we don’t want to.
Funny how that works.
If you, someone you know, or someone you are witnessing is a victim of sexual assault, you have every right to either call the police, ask for help from someone else around you, call a hotline like RAINN (1-800-656-HOPE), or intervene yourself…but please know that your safety comes first. Sexual assault is never your fault, no matter how you’re dressed or what you’ve been drinking or how well you know that person. If you report sexual assault, you are not whining or complaining or a bad sport or refusing a compliment. You’re doing the right thing.
It’s also not biological or natural for men and women to commit sexual assault on each other.