Scene: A munch, sometime before today.
Your friendly, neighborhood wench
SoleFood (her main squeeze)
Skippy: A male acquaintance
Skippy—speaking to SoleFood: “Do you mind if I do something to your wife?”
SoleFood: “Well, she isn’t my wife, yet, but, regardless, you should really ask her.”
Skippy: “But this thing could get me in trouble.”
SF: “Again, she is an autonomous being—speak to her.”
Skippy turns to the wench in question and, without speaking to her, grabs her arm, pulls up her sleeve, and pinches her hard enough to leave two bruises.
Wench: “If you ever do that again, I will punch you, hard.”
Wench storms off stage left.
So, yeah, this happened—and sure, a pinch on the arm may not seem like a big deal to some, but it was—and what it says is huge. It says that, to some, my consent in this community means little. It says that if I am partnered with a man that this man must speak for me. It says that there are people out there who think they can grab a woman and cause her pain without any type of permission whatsoever.
This isn’t the first time I have written about this (exhibit A), but this is the first time I walked away with actual bruises, and every time I think about it, it pisses me off all over again. I am just so tired of having to fight for what I feel should be assumed without question--namely, that I have ultimate control over what happens to my body.
Yes, we are in a community that engages in power exchange. And sure, a woman may give the power of permission to some other individual—but if you want to know if that dynamic exists, ask her, and recognize that it is she who has given that power. The default simply HAS to be that consent lies with the individual.
This is an important discussion because these consent violations are not always being committed by those we consider predators. Seriously. This guy is not the creepster that girls need to be warned about. He has sincerely apologized and will most likely not be making the same mistake any time soon. But it doesn’t really matter in the moment if the person who is treating you as less than a fully-functioning human being is misguided or an actual predator—it sucks either way.
So—let’s make this simple: Don’t. If you do not have permission from or through the person whose body you want to touch--just don’t. That’s it. Just. Fucking. Don’t.