Tuesday, August 11, 2015

'NO' is not the same as 'YES'

Sexual Abuse, Consent, and Culture:

Sex is complicated in every way imaginable and this is not aided by the fact that we have a general societal taboo against discussing it. And when we do talk about it, it is often shrouded in metaphors and innuendos. That means a lot of the sexual norms of our society and culture are mysterious and we don't actually talk about them, we sort of infer them and that's absolutely ridiculous.

Our culture has an unhealthy and messed up relationship with sex, we have somehow made these relationships into predator-prey interactions. This is a dim-witted system.

A lot of the joy, wonder and excitement in a romantic relationship comes from those moments of excitedly discovering what both parties are interested in. The predator-prey relationship does not encourage that.

Here, I am explaining culture but I am not excusing the behaviour, when we're set up to 'assume' whether the hunted actually wants the hunter or not, that enables abuse. In my opinion this is not all but one of the reasons why sexual abuse is so common in our culture.

When we define 'sexual abuse' legally it has to be of course very specific, so that it can stand up in court. So it's different from country to country.

But for the purposes of having a general definition, let's just say that sexual abuse is when one party is being coerced into doing something sexual that she/he does not want to do. This could be either because the victim is incapacitated or because the abuser is an authority figure or because the victim is placed in a dangerous situation where he/she feels like he/she doesn't have the option of saying no or getting out of said situation.

Yhe gender of the parties is irrelevant. So is the actual act - it can be sex or kissing. One person does not want to do what he/she is doing and being pressured into doing it is what gets deemed as abuse.

It is ubiquitous and needs to not be, because it holds us back as a culture. We have to rid ourselves of that outdated and rotten conception that sexual relationships are like predator-prey relationship, that one is the hunter and the other is the hunted.

For the further success that we hope to reach in advancing this thought process, especially with regards to the relationships, the definition of 'consent' plays a very important role. One imperative detail here is that NOT saying 'NO' is not the same as saying 'YES'.

We need to communicate and we need to be sensitive , there must always be a conversation, we cannot go by what mainstream media may have fed us about these relationship. They are awkward and real and we mustn't assume a thing. It must all be discussed loud and clear, we have to respect and not pressure people when they don't want to do something. All this is just part of a larger whole.

The immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors, especially group therapy appears effective.

The term 'survivor' is sometimes used for a living victim, even of usually non-fatal harm, to honour and empower the strength of an individual to heal, in particular a living victim of sexual abuse or assault.

The American Psychological Association has suggested various ways one could aid in their recovery. Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels, raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning.

Recovering emotionally from disaster, Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviours and can help you on the path to recovery, The effects of trauma need not last a lifetime, Most people will experience a trauma at some point in their lives, and as a result, some will experience debilitating symptoms that interfere with daily life and there are many ways to overcome them, one must only reach out.

by Dimithri Wijesinghe /