Taking No as an Answer

There’s a really good post on Patheos that deals with #MeToo; in it, the author admits that he’s part of the problem. He also addresses what can be done to help stem the tide.

Now, as you can expect, this might bother some people. If you don’t think you can handle this, don’t hit the jump.

The entire post was a great read but there was one particular pair of passages that caught my eye:

2) I’ve got back to my date’s bedroom (different date), and we’re watching a film. I ask her to have sex. She makes it clear that she does want to have sex with me at some stage, but not then. I keep badgering her about it, and she keeps saying no. I’m complaining about my ‘discomfort’, usual crap. Eventually she caves in. By now I’ve lost my enthusiasm, and we have awful, disappointing sex. I leave. She’d made it clear that she’d had some bad experiences with men and didn’t want to get involved with another man unless it was going to be meaningful. Despite this, I more or less ghost her after this experience.

Why this was gross: I ended up telling my therapist about this encounter recently. I began the story by saying “I don’t think she would say she was raped…” If that’s the best you can say, you have monumentally screwed up. No means no. Hear it and accept it. If a woman says yes because she’s worn out from saying no, that is barely consent.

I’m more than a little positive that my ex would say the exact same thing. Because this sums up damn near every encounter I had with him. And at one time, I would be saying the same thing; I didn’t think it was really rape. No, it wasn’t actually consensual but it wasn’t rape. Because rape always requires some sort of force, right?

But let’s be honest here: I didn’t have an actual choice in the matter. No matter how many times I said “No” and meant it, he wouldn’t take it as an answer. At all. Instead, he would keep needling at me, asking for permission. It went a little something like this:

I’m not exaggerating in the least. I wish I could say that I was, but I am not. This was literally every exchange between us and the result was the same; I’d say yes because I knew I had no other option. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.

So yes, he was using force. He was simply forcing me to relent so he could get what he wanted. He didn’t care one whit about me. I was there for his purposes.

I don’t want to paint the guy as a total jerk; what he and I didn’t know at the time was that he had Asperger’s Syndrome, which has an entire set of problems, including boundary issues. A large part of his problem was definitely that; he really didn’t know–or he couldn’t comprehend–that when someone else said no, that was the end of it. That repeated asking and begging was coercive and that it was wrong.

But that’s not the worst of it. I feel guilty, like somehow, I am to blame.

If I had kept repeating the word “No”, would he have eventually backed off? If I had gotten up and left the damned room, pushed him away, told him to fuck off, would he have realized that what he was doing was upsetting me? A part of me wonders but another part of me says, “You knew him. You knew how he was and none of that would have helped.” Then my mind wanders, going back to a time where I was dreadfully sick, dealing with a severe stomach flu. I was so nauseous that all I wanted to do was lie still, not move and hopefully drift off to sleep and recover from this thing, but the ex just wanted sex. He was begging for it, pleading, while he unbuckled his pants. All the while, I repeatedly told him I was too sick feeling to do anything.

I just wanted to be left alone. Even then, even at my absolute worst, he didn’t get the hint. He just couldn’t take no as answer.

In the years after, I have learned that “no” isn’t just a word; it is an entire sentence. If I don’t want sex, I don’t have to have it to satisfy the other party. I am in control of my body and that is the one opinion that counts.

I just wish someone had told me that years ago.

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About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we are both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat. Life is pretty darned awesome.
This entry was posted in Abuse, Bitter Truths, Grief, Rape and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Taking No as an Answer

  1. Pingback: On Aziz Ansari | Iacon East

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