By Heather Thomas
Most of us are pretty familiar with the term “no means no.” However, despite the prevalence of this phrase and its associated connotations, it falls on deaf ears. Many friends of mine have revealed to me that they, or several of their friends, have adamantly said no to sex and that the person still had sex with them regardless. Too many of these people ignoring the “no’s” of these girls have been their own boyfriends. Far too many of these girls have said it wasn’t rape because it was their own boyfriend. These girls stayed with their boyfriends even after having this happen to them. All females should love and respect themselves enough to not be with somebody who treats them in such a degrading and dehumanizing way.
According to “Sexual Coercion in Intimate Relations” by A. T. Goetz and T. K. Shackelford, between 10 and 26 percent of women experience rape in marriage. In addition, a study done by Goetz and Shackelford revealed that from a sample of young women in a committed relationship for at least a year, 9.1 percent reported that they had experienced at least one instance of rape by their current partner. 7.3 percent of men surveyed admitted that they engaged in partner rape at least once with their current partner. These statistics may seem to exemplify that this is not such a serious issue. However, the truth is that over 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. I cannot validate this personally, but I can say that out of all the girls I have known to experience relationship rape, none have reported it. I especially feel this issue is important among female adolescents and young adults who may think that it is okay because it is their boyfriend. It is not okay. If a girl says no and her boyfriend does it anyway, it is rape. If a girl is clearly intoxicated and not conscious it does not give any man, regardless of his relationship to her, the right to engage in sexual activity. There is no “get out of jail free” card just because you’re in a relationship. Rape is rape.
I feel that it is essential for everyone to be aware that no really means no, especially female adolescent and young adults in relationships as well as young adult and adolescent males. If somebody does not consent to sex it is not okay to do it anyway. Being in a relationship with a person does not entitle you to their body if they do not agree. Males must respect women and their bodies.
Females should respect themselves and understand that they have the right to say no even if it is their boyfriend. In order for this kind of rape to end, individuals must be aware of what terms such as consent, rape and mutual respect really mean. Respect and consent are two elements that should be fully employed in any relationship, but especially with intimate relationships. You must respect yourself and your partner, listen to what they want and do not want and abide by those statements.