day 15: consent | jokes on jokes

Sunday, 3/20/2016 

I did literally nothing today. I laid in bed all day and watched 'Covert Affairs.' So if that can be called “doing something,” well, that’s all I did. I think I needed a day to just not think. 

Annie Walker is my hero. Like, if I could be a fictional character, I'd be her. 

Annie Walker is my hero. Like, if I could be a fictional character, I'd be her. 

The past two days have been tough for me - I’ve thought a lot (cue the jokes.) But Friday night keeps replaying over and over in my head… 

On Friday, I was out watching Day 2 of March Madness, and I could not hide my feelings when Texas lost to freaking Northern Iowa at the buzzer.

Basketball is no football to me, but sports are sports. I’m from Texas, therefore I’m patriotic, and as long as they’re not beating North Carolina (my loyalties run deep,) I want my Texas boys to win. So the look of shock, sadness, and utter dismay that took over when Paul Jespersen made a three at the buzzer to boot Texas from Round 2, did not surprise my roommate (who was out with me .) But it sure did shock the group of guys standing one table away from me. 

Now, I don’t know if this is a southern thing or not, but it seems to be that a girl residing in New York city, with a remote knowledge and/or liking of sports is an anomaly. It’s weird. Weird as in I have had at least three guys jokingly propose to me over my ability to discuss football ‘on their level.’ (so. many. reasons. not to accept those proposals in that one little phrase right there - ew.)

Anyway, this group of dudes waltzes over to me with the various comments about heartbreak - a word to the wise: nobody who has just witnessed their team lose wants to hear some dumb joke about said loss or rehash the specifics about why they lost, how they lost, or if they could have done something different to make them not lose. No one. 

“Can we buy you a drink to ease your pain? Don’t worry, we won’t roofie it. HAHAHAHA (as if they’ve just told the joke to end all jokes) Weeeeeelllll Jared might roofie it, but we’ll make him stay right here with you while WE get the drink. We’ll watch him the whole time. Nothing to worry about here!"

Ok bro, I don’t wanna be that girl, but REALLY? In what world is that a funny joke? Actually, remove the funny part of that statement - is that even a joke at all? 

It’s a weird, weird world we live in, that we joke about rape. It’s even weirder when you tell someone maybe we shouldn’t joke about roofies, and they don’t get why. 

This guys literal inability to understand why that’s not funny, makes me nervous for the next generation - what are we teaching them? Are we teaching young men and boys that roofies are a joke to be laughed at? Are we teaching young girls that their lucidity in giving consent is not important? Living in New York, I hear young people’s conversations on the street, on the train, and on the bus, more often than I’d care to (I pity the poor adults that had to overhear my friends’ and my teenage conversations!) and I’m disheartened at the value they seem to place (or not place) on their bodies and their sexuality. Yesterday, while walking home from a run, I heard a girl who couldn’t have been more than 16, defending herself to a young boy that called her a “worthless ho,” with, “Boy, my p***y so tight, I ain’t no ho.”  

I just wonder if between entertainment, politics, social media, and how insanely easy it is for anyone to access porn - are we giving the next generation a fighting chance at self-respect? Do young girls know where their worth is found? Are they being taught to value their minds above their bodies? Are we teaching young men that women have far more to offer than what they can provide in the kitchen or in the bedroom? 

I don’t remember much from my sex education class in middle school besides that it was short. I may be wrong here, but I don’t remember consent being discussed. I think it was assumed. I don’t fault my school for that - I think the assumption of consent might partly be a generational thing. My parents have said to me on more than one occasion that the fact that my generation has to worry about roofies is shocking to them - they didn’t even exist back when they were in college. But the world has changed, and if our tools of education aren’t evolving with it, well, as one of my pastors says, “if you ain’t helping, you ain’t helping.” 

I mean, I would assume, that a grown ass man in a bar at least knows one female that, if she were roofied and assaulted, he’d be horrified, and would therefore never make a joke about it. But, here we are. 

Assumptions will get us nowhere. But change will. Now, I’m the first to admit that I hate change. In fact, I abhor it. But when change is absolutely necessary (as in there is literally no other option because I’ve explored them all,) I can get my butt in gear and do what needs to be done. 

The fact that schools anywhere are teaching abstinence as the only form of sex education BLOWS MY MIND. Like, we’ve established that I love Jesus. I get the whole waiting till marriage thing. I think that is a great thing to hope and pray for for your kids, teach them, and lead them towards. I’m not poopoo’ing that. But it’s statistically very unlikely that a teenager will wait to have sex until marriage that in not educating them, we’re setting them up to contract STD’s, HIV, and get pregnant. 

However, all of this is a moot point if we fail to consider the issue of consent. Consent has somehow become confusing…. how? I don’t know. But if police officers are confused by it (well, how did you tell him no? Uhhhh I used the word, no….?) we can bet our sweet asses that kids are confused by it. I mean, rape porn is a thing. Did you know that? It’s an actual, money making, thing. The idealization of rape. How is that legal? The porn industry as a whole disgusts me, but that? I can't. Porn is one of the most easily accessible things on the internet. It pops up constantly when you’re not even searching for it. If young people, whose hormones are absolutely raging, come across it, are we really shocked that they don’t look away? And are we surprised when they go back for more? And when their minds are being filled with that garbage from the age of 13, 14, 15, 16, why are we surprised that their view of what sex is meant to be is skewed? Why does it surprise us that college boys turn to roofies in order to act out those fantasies? 

We’ve got to completely change the way we teach young people about sex. That’s initiative #2 on my big dreams list for I ARISE; to tackle sex education in this country. I want a country wide mandate that states that schools must prioritize and enact a comprehensive sex education course that includes abstinence, protection, contraception, and above all else, consent. If we have come to a point where we have to spell out what consent is, so be it. Let’s do it. Let’s train up our kids in the way we want them to go.

Consent: 

  1. cannot be given when a person is unconscious
  2. cannot be given when a person has been drugged (so if you drug a girl and she says yes, it doesn’t count.)
  3. cannot be given when a person is black out drunk 
  4. can be redacted at any point without explanation 
  5. is non negotiable 
  6. is not about equality or a a political agenda
  7. is not to be automatically assumed 
  8. is only the person’s to give and take away as they deem necessary
  9. is not limited to sexual intercourse but also includes any other sexual activity 

If there is any confusion about whether or not consent has been given, chances are it has not been given and it’s time to step away. 

Consent is the biggest part of sex education because without it, it’s not actually sex - it’s rape, assault, and abuse. There’s no such thing as consensual and non-consensual sex. There’s consensual sex, and there’s rape. And that piece of the puzzle is missing from what we’re teaching today’s kids. I’m just not ok with that.