AboutI'm Maya Dusenbery. I'm a writer and editor at Feministing.
I don’t want to live in a world in which many people seem to truly believe that women must be constantly “aware of their surroundings” and vigilantly guarded against being taken advantage of, or else they bear some “some accountability for the incident.” I don’t want to live in a world in which anyone believes that Mays and Richmond “did what most people in their situation would have done.” I don’t want to live in a world that assumes guys are naturally sexual aggressors who will opportunistically take advantage of an incapacitated girl, or forever push, push, push at the boundaries of consent until they hear a clear and forceful “no.” I want to live in a world that gives boys more credit than that.
I don’t want to live in a world in which a boy describes a girl as “like a dead body” yet still claims that the acts were consensual. I want to live in a world in which female sexual agency is respected and girls are seen as active and equal participants in sex, and so the idea that it would be at all unclear if someone had or had not consented would seem totally ludicrous. I want to live in a world in which it is universally assumed that no one except a rapist would want to have sex with someone who ”wasn’t participating.”
I don’t want to live in a world in which kids witness a rape in progress and record a video or take a photo instead of stopping it. I don’t want to live in a world in which a kid sees his friends assaulting an unconscious girl and claims that he didn’t intervene because he didn’t realize it was rape. “Well, it wasn’t violent,” Evan Westlake explained. ”I didn’t know exactly what rape was. I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.” I don’t want to live in a world in which this could ever be a believable excuse. I want to live in a world in which there is universal mandatory education on enthusiastic consent in schools and public figures do not make distinctions between “forcible rape” and other kinds of not-so-serious rape and the media clearly, unequivocally calls non-consensual sex what it is.
Society tells us young men can’t think of women as role models, unless they’re a family member, whereas young women can admire and seek to emulate anyone, regardless of gender.
…Young men are not to taught to think of women as role models. They are taught to think of them as either family members or sexual objects. There is no other category presented.