No Always Means No

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In the wake of all the conversation being generated about the #MeToo hashtag that gets people who feel comfortable doing so to talk about sexual assault and sexual harassment, just have to remind some peeps before I get to the heart of what I want to talk about in this post that trans masculine and trans feminine peeps are also dealing with this issue as well.

#TransToo

What the hashtag created by a Black woman (Tarana Burke) has done is got me thinking about a conversation that my late father had with me and my brother when we were teenagers concerning sex and dating.

Related imageHe told us that the line between a sexual encounter and being charged with rape was a very thin one, and that if we didn’t want to be going to jail, we’d better be paying extremely close attention to what the girl was saying at that moment, not what she was doing.

He illustrated his point by laying out a scenario for us in which the girl in question was in her underwear and intimately touching and kissing you, then suddenly says.”No.”

My dad’s matter of fact blunt advice about that scenario was this:  If that no happens, she meant it.  So at that moment you get up, thank her for a lovely evening, and come home to take a cold shower.

It was advice that kept up both out of dating trouble, and I realized later was his way of explaining the concept of ‘No Means No’ to us.

Far too often I heard conversations in which guys claimed that a ‘no’ meant you hadn’t closed the sexual sale with the person in question.   This 1989 episode of A Different World  entitled fittingly ‘No Means No’ makes it quite clear what it is and what’s gonna happen to you legally if you ignore that no.

 

No always means no, and that lesson needs to be taught by parents before their kids hit puberty.

If they don’t, then they will be watching that child being tried for a sexual assault and being put on the sexual offender list.

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