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It is not consent if you make me afraid to say no

Hello gorgeous souls!

Wow its been a hot minute since I've blogged, almost a month! I've had so much to say but struggled with flow if I'm honest, what to write about ... what would be interesting to others while still being raw and authentic to me.

How are you anyway?

I know there is always something huh just when we think we are settled the universe surprises us with a lesson! And surprised lately I have been! But I'm feeling content for now and know that everything endured is necessary for my growth.

However when you are amongst the waves of life it can be hard to see the silver lining so take these moments of bliss, take the gentle currents and use them for gratitude, appreciation and reflection.

Anyway as always I want to talk about the taboo shit, this is the stuff that really lights me up!

Before I begin just a warning that my words always come as they need to be heard at the time, they remain raw and unedited and triggers lay beneath the sentences today surrounding sexual consent, body consent and rape please tread carefully.

Over the last few months I have been exploring sex, pleasure, healthy connections and what it would mean to me to not receive validation sexually and I had a light bulb moment a few weeks ago about sexual consent and how this fits into this messy puzzle.

Over and over I've had conversations brought into my awareness around sexual consent that both me and the other person were not fully aware at the time of the extent of what we were actually talking about.

Years I've had these conversations pop in and out of my awareness and as I discover my self worth more, heal from my sexual abuse trauma I have begun to realise how fucked up 'consent' really is.

A few years back I was seeing a therapist and we were in the depths of my shadows, unpacking my sexual traumas and trying to somewhat glue my life back together. I was in a really fucked up place, so disconnected from my body and I just couldn't understand why ... it had been years since she had received trauma but the pain was supressed so far down that I was numb, I was shut off and totally unaware.

Anyway one session we were talking about an event from when I was 15. I don't even remember how or why ... but I was telling her about this time I found myself at a party filled with gang members ... all night there were comments made about who was going to have me ... I could have left I suppose multiple times but I chose not too. I was drunk, I was young, I wasn't thinking right and anyway I found myself at this house after the last bus and knew I would need to stay.

My subconscious instincts knew I needed to pick someone to sleep with, I wasn't really aware of this, I thought I was making the choice ... I decided to pick this guy and I had sex with him. Now I said yes ... I made all the noises even though I didn't really enjoy it ... I said yes. I spoke of this event to my friends as if I had made this choice ... because I said yes.

For about 11 years I wholeheartedly believed I did and if I'm honest I didn't think of it much until this session because I said yes.

After telling my therapist she said Mel that is not consensual sex ... I was confused? But I said yes? Isn't saying yes consensual?

She asked me had I felt safe, had I had the choice to make it home would I have still had sex with this guy?

My answer ... No.

She explained to me that my consent was out of fear, fear of being raped, fear of my choice being made for me so I went into fight mode and tried to make the best of the situation. So my consent was not real consent ... I didn't mean yes.

My mind was blown, it made sense, how I had never thought of it like this before?

How did I not see something so obvious?

I was so conditioned to believe that yes was fully consensual to not see how sad that night really was ... how little I thought of myself back then.

She asked me if I could think of any other times and I could think of lots like times when I had been drunk and felt obliged, times when I had been sleeping somewhere and someone has hopped into bed with me and I thought that was my only option, times when I had changed my mind during sex and didn't know I could change my mind back, there are so many times that I can't even tell you them all because we would be here all night.

Even after this session though my self worth was still so low that I just didn't think of the impact and power of what we had just unpacked ... until recently.

Lately I have friends or clients speaking to me of these experiences, speaking how I used too ...

"Ohwell I wasn't really keen but my friend was getting with his friend."

"I met him off tinder so I felt obliged."

"I went to his house so I thought I may as well."

"It was so shit, I just wanted it to end."

These are just some of the many words I have heard, I know I've spoken these words before and I'm sure we are not alone!

I'm not coming here today to be superwoman and say I have the answers to fix this ... I don't.

But just like this keeps coming to my awareness I know we must start this conversation around what consent actually is.

Consent is when you wholeheartedly want too, it feels good, you feel comfortable, you feel safe.

Consent is not just a word, or a situation.

This is not just for females either, this is for any gender!

We need to normalise this conversation and truly understand consent.

We need to normalise that foreplay does not mean yes to sex just because you said yes to foreplay.

We need to normalise that at any part of any interaction regardless of how far we go that we have the power to change our mind at anytime time.

We need to normalise that just because someone dresses up to go out clubbing that does not mean that they are looking for sex.

We need to normalise that someone posting lingerie photos on social media does not mean they are gagging for sex.

We need to normalise that someone drunk at the club dancing is not an invitation to sex.

We need to normalise that a kiss does not mean sex.

We need to normalise that sleeping in the same bed does not mean sex.

We need to normalise that just because their friend is sleeping with your friend that is not a guaranteed one night stand.

I could honestly go on about the things we need to normalise ... you would think that these things would be the bare minimum, the bare standards ... an understanding that we all carry but unfortunately for many it is not.

For years I thought I had carried this burden alone, I truly thought that I was weak, broken, damaged and alone in these encounters but the more I travel down the path of healing the more I meet others who carry these same deep rooted beliefs.

Please know that you always have the power, you have the right to change your mind at anytime without blame or guilt.

Lets normalise authentic consent.

I leave you with these questions ... What does consent mean to you? What beliefs do you carry around consent?

As always thanks for reading my words and holding space while I unpack my thoughts.

Love Mel xo.

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