Posted by The Frisky12/16/14 –
There’s been a lot of talk lately in the media about sexual violence. Late last month, former CBC Broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was fired amid allegations of sexual assault. A few weeks ago, Shia LaBeouf came forward with claims that he was raped during an art exhibition. And by now everyone’s heard of the sex abuse allegations first brought against Bill Cosby decades ago, which seem to just keep coming.
Then a little over a week ago, Rolling Stone released an editor’s note that undermined their own investigative account of a brutal gang rape that allegedly took place at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. It was a move that The Frisky’s Beejoli Shah astutely noted as “just another example of shifting the focus away from the real issue at hand: how we talk about rape, and how hard it is for survivors to come forward.”
As a former sex worker turned sex writer I think it’s good that people are talking about sexual health. It’s unfortunate, however, that we don’t know how to talk about complicated sexual experiences without focusing on two words: consent, and rape. In certain circumstances, I wonder if these aren’t the wrong words. Certainly, they shouldn’t be the only ones.
One time, in the midst of a sexual encounter, I slapped my partner in the face. After a moment of stunned silence, he burst into tears. At the time, it didn’t even cross my mind that I hadn’t had his permission. It was something we’d done before. Something he’d done to me. Something we both enjoyed. His reaction to that slap surprised us both, triggering something in him that neither of us were expecting. Certainly, I’d say it wasn’t assault. And yet, for reasons that remain vague to both of us to this day, what happened in that moment was also definitely not cool.
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