Silence Does Not Equal Consent

photo-1431037242647-4c2c27cb5bb1i was writing a brilliantly witty and epic editorial on negative versus positive impact; about how a compliment is usually brushed off with a humble thank you while a criticism is taken to heart and mulled over for days, weeks, or months.

and then.

this article popped into my newsfeed titled “How a Cuddle Party Changed the Way I View Consent”. and within that article, a link to 7 things you might think are consent that aren’t.

it’s an excellent read – i’ll wait while you take a gander.


*waits longer*


there are SO MANY SENTENCES that UTTERLY RESONATE in this thing. like this:

“I’ve had people get “the wrong idea” when I’ve spoken to them, smiled at them, or agreed to hang out with them, and I’ve been accused of leading people on for not wanting to hook up with them or date them after acting friendly.”

and this:

“In both physical and non-physical contexts, I’ve often thought “maybe” and said “yes” because I didn’t want to miss out.”

and THIS:

“And in the past, when I’ve said “no” to physical interactions and then changed my mind, people have taken that to mean that my “no” is meaningless and that they don’t have to listen to it in the future.”

the article so resonated that i scheduled it for future posting and SHARED IT INSTANTLY with my facebook feed.

and received IMMEDIATE SPECIFIC BRILLIANT comments that i simply HAD TO share with you. without edit, i present two additional thoughts.

C responded with her experiences and concerns:

“Being a part of the burning man community and having so many poly friends has slowly simultaneously increased my anxiety over this and also strengthened my ability to say no. It takes more energy for me to say No because I fear people disliking me for it because somehow that was something I learned – and I’m trying to unlearn it. Not to mention having a partner who never stopped pushing until I said yes. And people who keep asking even though I say no every time.

But I’m presented with more and more people asking permission until we learn each other’s patterns and comfort. Some friends stop asking once they learn I will always tell that person yes to a tight hug and say no thanks if I don’t want it right then. Others don’t know me that well yet and still ask.

I’ve had the strength to approach people, albeit still online because it’s less scary, and tell them they’ve made me uncomfortable and why. They’ve apologized and thanked me for telling them. It gives me hope that smaller bad behavior can be corrected and prevent it growing, fed by bitterness, into something more dangerous.

I’ve been invited to parties like these and considered going, to practice saying no and grow my confidence in it, but not quite there yet. I’m closer. I would say spaces like this are excellent for people like me, who fear saying no out of the unspoken threat of violence reprisal or seeing someone’s smile fade, to learn to say no more and more.

But there are also a whole lot of creepy males I’ve encountered who spend most of their time at parties like these. People who make me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Same goes with acroyoga circles. Guys who are waiting for that first Yes to touch because then that boundary spell has been broken and to them that first Yes gives permission to push for more and more. And that’s what keeps me away from them. I think they attract males who want to put their hands on women and otherwise don’t get to very often.

I could write a post about this and maybe I should at some point. It’s a pattern I’ve been watching for a while.”

and L confirms:

“Very insightful comment and article. I have had so much trouble with this in the past that I have completely written off most male friendships, except with my brother friend B[], whom I feel safe with because he isn’t attracted to women and identifies as a gay man. Anyway, I felt that the cuddle party would have been beneficial for me as well but then I had the ” what if there are creepy men there” thought.”

Thanks so much, C and L for giving permission to share your thoughts. I hope others are inspired to share as well.


What is YOUR experience? Do the articles resonate for you as well? Why or why not?

I’m listening.

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