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Willful Blindness

A Thought Piece on Consent by Robert Mulolo

TRIGGER WARNING: References of sexual assault and abuse

Before leaving the house… What do you do to avoid from being sexually assaulted?

If you were to ask a man that question, the only answer that comes out is “Nothing” along with snickering because the question is completely ridiculous to hear.

Being in a position of privilege like that allows you to laugh at the situation. It allows you to answer confidently because you can go out of the house and you'll likely see that there is nothing wrong happening out there that could cause for you to feel unsafe.

On the flip side of the coin, when women are asked that same question…

The answers begin flowing in like a goddamn waterfall. The snickering ends at that point and tears are shared during the responses. It is scary to hear what a woman has to go through to avoid any form of harm.

In fact, according to the Sexual Assault Canadian Health Association there are 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada a year, and only 5% of survivors report the assault to the police. It is more alarming to find that in 97% of sexual perpetrators walk free, while only 3% of sexual crimes lead to conviction. Let me provide you the numbers to make it more clear: 460,000 sexual assaults, 23,000 of survivors report the assault, 690 lead to conviction.

I think that’s what it boils down to… Respect.

Women are viewed as these sexual objects that men feel entitled to have at their disposal.

Janese Jackson Talton rejected a man during a night out in Pittsburgh. He felt entitled to have her phone number and because she said "no" to him, he felt he had to shoot her. Her life was taken because she exercised her right to say no.

Recently, in Harlem, a young woman was approached by a group of 3 young men who offered to pay for a bottle of wine she was purchasing. She declined politely. Their response was, “You think you’re better than us.”

These men chased that woman from the front of the store to a nearby car and started to beat her. One of them took it to such an extreme, he bit her forehead, attempting to bite her eye. This beat down was because she declined their offer.

Elliot Rodger is another man who felt entitled to some "lovin" as he said in a chilling video, “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.”

Leaving a 140 page manifesto, he shot outside of a sorority of the University of California’s Santa Barbara Campus, killing two women. He ran down a couple of cyclists and murdered a couple more people before taking his own life. All of this, because he was tired of being a virgin.

If we viewed women as human beings, we would more than likely see that their right to choose should be respected. To have conversations with them is not enough. To call them ‘sisters’ ‘queens’ ‘princesses’ is not enough. Doing away with your male privilege is probably not possible but accepting the humanity of these women and taking steps to address patriarchy in society.

What was your inspiration behind this? Some may ask me…

Well, I was on social media and I saw the following post on a friend's page:

Okay scenario.... You're a guy. You see this gorgeous girl at a festival. You approach her and ask her for her number. She gives it to you. You text her on the spot to see if she gave u the right number. She answers. So the next day you text again no answer. So you call... You get her voicemail. You try again next week. No answer... So you try again a few weeks after that..... No answer.... So uhm... When do y'all stop trying lol ?

Men, black and white, belonging to the age group of the person who posted this, all asked variations of the following question in the comment section: "WHY DID SHE GIVE HER NUMBER IN THE FIRST PLACE?"

So I repeat the question that was asked originally at the beginning of this piece… "What do you do to avoid being sexually assaulted?"

The reason why a woman may give her number is because of situations like the one Janese Jackson Talton was in. Saying "no" does not work because there are men who take it to the extreme. The following situations can possibly occur:

· She may be physically harmed or assaulted.

· There's a possibility that she may be followed or stalked

· There's a possibility that she can be verbally assaulted

· The horror stories are countless, but the least that can happen is the man walking away, understanding the situation.

Giving a fake number may not work because a man might test the number right there in front of the woman and if unhappy, the same options as above may occur.

A conversation amongst men needs to take place to begin the process of unlearning the toxic environment patriarchy has created for women across the world.

I do not believe that it’s fair for a woman to have to lie and say that she has a man in order to get rid of an unwanted suitor. What that says to me is that another man is more respected than her "no".

For more information on Sexual Assault and Rape Culture in Society and how you can do your part to address this issue, please visit the link below:

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