Fetlife’s been raucous with chatter over consent violations in different parts of the world this week. I’ve learned quite a lot from those comments sections; most importantly, that it’s only a consent violation if I say “no”.
I don’t know how I failed to pick up this concept before. I mean, it’s not as if I have insufficient comparators to draw from in my everyday life. Take my home as an example. I often leave the front door open, and my neighbours love it because they know it means they can come inside without an invitation and help themselves to my pretzels and espresso.
I always buy extra cupcakes for the days when strangers flood in from the street because it’s too hot to leave my door shut. A good 20 or 30 of them show up per hour and help themselves to everything in my cupboards. Everyone knows an open door means you’re welcome to that person’s coffee, so I should have known people at events are allowed to grope and penetrate me without my permission unless they hear a “no” from me. I’m a bit slow with stuff like this, so please excuse my ignorance. I really should know better.
It’s exactly the same as when I left my purse on the checkout counter while I was swiping my card a minute ago. The cashier took all the cash from it because she wanted to buy herself some new shoes. I hadn’t said “no”, so obviously she had a legitimate claim to my money. All the more relevant when it comes to my body because I didn’t even pay for that so it’s way less valuable than what’s in my purse.
My body is exactly like my house: freely available without invitation to everyone who wants a piece of it. Consider me corrected and thank you for the lesson.