Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Preventing Rape

This blog post was written to fulfill an assignment for the course Creativity & Community.

Everyone at IPFW has to take a rape prevention course, and that's what this post is responding to.  This post is going to cover some heavy topics, including abuse, rape, and (gasp!) my sex life.  If that sounds like too much for you, check out these cute bunnies instead: (Seriously, they are adorable.)

My commitment to sexual safety and well-being begins with me.  I love my girlfriend very much, and that love is unconditional.  What I mean by that is, if they don't want to do something, we don't do it.  At all.  Maybe they don't want to have sex for a week, a month, a year, ever?  That's okay.  I'd honestly rather have no sex than bad sex.  I'd rather see their smiling face every morning, than guilt them into reluctant sex and the hurt feelings that follow.  I know they feel the same in return.

We both are rape survivors.  One day I was one of those people who had never been raped, and the next I was asking my husband why he didn't listen to my demands to stop hurting me.  (Protip: there's no good answer to that question.)  My girlfriend's stories are their own, but were based in an incorrect belief that certain people with certain anatomy are incapable of being raped.  My experiences with sexual violence don't define me, but they were difficult parts of my life, and I would never want to make anyone else feel the way I felt.

I already mentioned one way I am committed to a nonviolent approach to relationships: sex is always a benefit of, not a condition for, relationships.  Some other principles I carry with me are a constant checking in with my partner for how they're feeling.  Do you like what I'm doing?  Is there something you'd prefer instead?  Talk!  Be prepared at any moment to switch to cuddles and reassurance.

I need to have a healthy sexual relationship with... myself.  Quite frankly, if I want something done right, I can do it myself.  There's no shame in that, and a healthy relationship partner will recognize that.  Nobody has the right to pressure me to put an end to "me time", and I have no right to pressure anyone else to press pause on their own sexual relationship with themself either.  So if I don't need someone else to get the job done for me, that means I can focus on what is healthy and fun for all of us.

Even though this blog post was about sexual responsibility in particular, these sorts of caring behaviors can be applied to many different aspects of relationships.  For example, just as I have no right to make sexual decisions for my partner(s), I have no right to make other relationship decisions for them either.  I have a tendency to run a tight schedule, and when I neglect to consult my girlfriend on their time and attention needs, they are left out and hurt by the decisions I have made for them.  As long as we are both bringing our needs and wants to the table, with mutual respect and understanding, we will be able to find a solution that maximizes everyone's needs and wants.  We both deserve nothing less, and really that's the foundation that makes our love so sweet.  

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