“You can’t just change your mind after it’s happened,” he told me.
“You can’t decide later you didn’t want to have sex with them.”
At the time, I agreed with him. I was eighteen-years-old and naïve. He was a friend—let’s call him S—and he was of the opinion that women couldn’t change their minds about whether they wanted sex with someone. Allegedly, he’d slept with a woman, who had later said she didn’t want it to happen.
To him, she’d lied. To him, she’d changed her mind, purely for the purpose of making him to look bad. But what if she’d never wanted it all along? What if she’d acquiesced? What if she hadn’t thought her input was all that important—only to realise otherwise later?
Last year, I was dating a guy who cheated on me. Instead of breaking up—like we really should have—I desperately tried to make it work. That night, we slept together—even though I really didn’t want to (I mean, who would after finding that information out?).
At the time, I brushed it off. At the time, it didn’t seem important. And even though I didn’t want to, he was pleased—so it was okay, right?
After we finally broke up, I realised how messed up that was. I’d told him no. I’d tried to push him off. But eventually, I gave in. I didn’t have the effort to fight him. But acquiescing isn’t consent—and I don’t think even he realises what happened.
Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon theme for women. Every female friend I’ve spoken to told me similar stories—stories where they say no, but give in anyway.
But we don’t talk about it. Because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of people like S telling others we’re making it up, that we’re just trying to make them look bad. We’re afraid of telling the person—only to have them become angry and hurt us. We’re in a culture where women are belittled and objectified.
If you haven’t consented, if you’ve actively tried to stop it happening, it’s rape—even if you eventually relented. And it is not your fault.
Ladies and gentlemen: sex is not the rent you pay to be a woman—to be a human. You don’t have to sleep with anyone. And yes, you sure as hell can change your damn mind.