Recently I watched a Hindi movie "Pink," it is a courtroom drama dealing with sexual assault and battery related incidents. I liked the movie, it is very well made and all actors have performed brilliantly their respective roles, but this post is not about the movie. It is about the importance of willful "consent" in any relationship. I watched this movie with my kids, they both are teenagers and will face a situation of dealing with their or their partner's willful consent in their relationship and I wanted to make sure that they get this message right; when someone says "No," it means "NO." It doesn't mean yes or even maybe, it doesn't matter what that person said just a few minutes ago, it doesn't matter if that person was drinking or very friendly and seems to agree to your advances, NO means NO.
Any relationship needs a very strong foundation, and to treat our partner equally can be a first crucial step towards building that strong foundation. I know it is not an easy task for many, our culture and patriarchal society never treated all genders on an equal basis. One can include any kind of discrimination to point out the inequality in our society, but here I am talking specifically about gender discrimination. Many cultures never gave women a chance to have control over their sexual behavior as they gave to their men. Rather every time some sexual misconduct happens, many societies try to find the fault in victim's behavior. Many try to hint that victim might have provoked poor boys (or men) and forced them to commit this crime. Now, before I move on, let me clarify that I know that men are also victims of sexual harassment many times, but data shows that still women are main victims of this crime, that's why I am focussing on it specifically. This victim shaming is one of the reasons why many such incidents even don't get reported, as many victims fear for social backlash or humiliation. It is still very common to comment or judge the character of women based on their sexual behavior, the clothes they wear or some of their social behavior (like smoking, drinking, etc.). Only women can stop this, they need to claim their freedom to express themselves without any social prejudice, they need to make it clear that it is their life and they are free to choose their path, same like men. They must demand equal rights, no more-no less.
After watching the movie, during our discussion I told my kids that they should understand on thing very clear, whenever other person says "no" it means NO, and they should respect that under any situation. Always respect other person's right to decide for themselves, it is a minimum courtesy we all can offer to each other and especially to our partners or friends. Please go and watch Pink if you like courtroom dramas, but even if you don't, just remember that NO means NO, it is a sentence in itself, it doesn't need any explanation or justification and only humans can understand this denial, wild animals don't have the capacity to control their natural instincts, but we humans do have it and it is one of the major differences between our and wild animal's social and personal behavior. So if you claim to be a human, you should understand when someone says NO, just get this thing right in your mind, NO means NO.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]