Articles for this day of March 17, 2014

A Serious Topic

For those of you who also follow my Jo Ramsey (YA pen name) blog, you’ll note that this is the same post that appears on that blog today. I apologize for the repetition. This is a subject I take very seriously, and I felt it warranted appearing on both blogs.

And this is potentially triggering… Please be warned, and if you are triggered by mentions of certain types of abuse, please do not read this post.

This is your chance to bail out if you need to. The serious stuff begins below the cat.

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If you’re still reading, I’m going to assume you won’t be triggered. Although since I’m also sometimes triggered by the topic of sexual abuse/assault, I can’t guarantee I won’t end up triggering myself.

I don’t know for sure what’s going on on YouTube, because other than posting on there and occasionally viewing videos that have been brought to my attention, I pretty much stay off that site. (It isn’t because I don’t like YouTube. It’s because I have a finite amount of time.)

But on Twitter yesterday, I found a link to an amazing post by Maureen Johnson. And that post included a link to an excellent Vlogbrothers video on the subject of consent and sexual abuse.

Statistics say that about 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be victims of some type of sexual abuse in their lifetime. I think the number is probably much higher, to be honest, because that doesn’t take into account things like being flashed by a random person when you’re walking down the street, or being groped on the subway, or having someone make sexually explicit, disturbing comments to you. And it doesn’t take into account the number of assaults and other incidents that are never reported because “No one will believe me” or “It wasn’t that serious” or “That made me uncomfortable, but I don’t think it was illegal.”

As Hank Green in the Vlogbrothers video states, and as I’ve stated in other posts, lack of “No” DOES NOT EQUAL YES. The only thing that means “yes” is “yes.” That addresses the issue of consent in a situation where one person is trying to persuade another person to have sex with them. If someone does not–or CANNOT– say “Yes,” the answer is always no. ALWAYS.

But it doesn’t address things like the random flasher. Or the subway groper. Or the child or young teen who doesn’t understand that they have options because the person who’s being sexual with them is an adult–maybe even someone they trust.

It doesn’t address the fact that in our society, there’s an expectation that girls in particular, though sometimes boys as well, will be treated in a sexual way, even if they’re too young to completely understand what sex is.

It doesn’t address the fact that it’s considered almost normal for a child or young teen to have someone making a sexual overture toward them, whether it’s asking them for sex or flashing them or making sexually suggestive comments.

All of those things suck. All human beings deserve to live in safety and dignity. No one deserves to be made to feel “dirty” or lesser because someone else can’t control their own impulses and desires.

NO ONE DESERVES IT. NOT ANYWHERE, NOT EVER.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of ANY type of sexual assault or abuse, please tell someone. Go to someone you trust. Go to the police. Call the RAINN hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to the RAINN website to access their online hotline.

You deserve help and hope, and you deserve to be heard.