Have you been pondering over the grey areas of consent or struggling with the newfound society in which women seem to be standing up right and left to scream “rape” over something that seems…less than? I recognize that the world we live in has suddenly flipped upside down on you and you might be anxious. I’m here to help you navigate the #MeToo New World Order.
Why should you learn about consent? Well, unfortunately, when women seized a long-awaited opportunity to stand up and speak the truths they’ve held in their whole lives, we altered the landscape of daily life for about half of the population. And while some of that population needed their landscape to drastically shift, a vast majority of men could never have imagined worrying they might be – gasp – rapists. If you’ve read this far in, you can consider yourself part of the latter group: You would never intentionally rape someone, and you want to know if you’re at risk of engaging in something that could label you a monster.
How are we, as a society, affected by non-consensual sexual acts? For starters, as a man you can also be a victim, as you are more likely to be raped than you are to be falsely accused of rape. A single incident of sexual assault can damage someone for a lifetime: They may relive the trauma over and over and find their entire world turned upside down. They might begin to injure themselves, develop an eating disorder, abuse substances, struggle with normal sleep, dissociate, or even commit suicide. I probably don’t need to tell you the financial and social impacts of mental health and addiction, nor the tragedy felt by loved ones who grieve over a suicide. Sexual assault victims may also assume hasty generalizations by deciding that an entire group (all men, all men of a particular race or age or career, etc.) are problematic, a fallacy that promotes division, prejudice, and hate. Or, worst of all, they may become raging, man-hating, lesbian feminists – and, gosh, I know the last thing heterosexual men want is less available sexual partners!
Rape is rare, though, isn’t it? And dramatic? It happens in dark alley ways, loud dance clubs; it happens when a perpetrator breaks into a woman’s home at night while she thought she was safely sleeping. Sorry, but no …