“I cannot count the number of times I’ve been assaulted by men. It’s like a rite of passage which is too wrong to still be happening”— a young woman.
The topic of sexual assault is a touchy one. There are many factors involved and a lot of instances to be explored. It is a regular occurrence in both women and men’s lives and begs the question; will there ever be a stop to it?
Sexual assault occurs when one intentionally sexually touches another person without that person’s consent. It may involve coercion and predators often deliberately ignore their victim’s plea to stop. What this means is, someone touches another person sexually but doesn’t stop even when the other person is obviously not on board with it. And not being on board simply translates to not giving consent.
According to Pelumi (male), “The topic of consent is complex. Sometimes a no can later change to yes. Many Nigerian women say no when they mean yes.”
Folakemi (female) however has a different opinion. “Any lady who still says no when she means yes is a baby who needs to stop doing that. But consent isn’t complex. It is so simple. Stop when the other person is giving you a vibe that means no.”
Corroborating this is Annie, another female. “I may not say no but when if I’m pushing you away or refusing you access, it means you should stop. Just stop. Don’t persist.”
However, while Annie believes pushing should be a way of saying no, Ani Fanelli, the main character in The Luckiest Girl Alive (a movie about rape and sexual assault), says, “I tried to push Liam off of me but he thought I was trying to touch him so he kissed me.”
Can consent be complex?
In season 2, episode 7 of the series Grownish, a spin-off of Blackish, a rape case is assumed to have happened on the University campus but is later discarded as rumour. However, conversations spring and a certain group of friends (young women and men) are forced to talked about how they’ve been in similar situations and what it could represent. From the conversations, it could be seen that many of them had gone along with a sexual act because they didn’t want to make a scene. Also, some of them had kept going even when the other person was slightly uncomfortable.
A consensual sexual act is not complex. As Annie said, NO could appear in different forms and as an adult, reading people’s mannerisms, especially sexually is key. Think of it this way. As a child, when you ask your Nigerian mother certain questions such as “where should I put this” and she says, “on my head!”, you don’t put it on her head. You simply ask someone else or you figure out a solution.
So, consent works similarly. Simple things such as a head shake, a sob, an avoidance of eye contact, a “please”, a push, a dead stare, and many others means to stop.
In addition, consent could be changed during a sexual act. That is, an individual may say Yes at the beginning but say No during the act. You should stop immediately. Also,
Here are some things you could do to be on the safe side.
Once you get a signal in any form, simply stop.
- Ask questions.
If you notice there’s an “off-vibe” about the other person, ask if you should stop. Ask if they’re fine. It’s so easy to get lost in your own euphoria that you forget about the other person.
Leave when they keep changing their minds. If their No seems to mean Yes, simply leave. It could be a trap.
This article was written by Sola Tales.