When Yes Means No: I Said Yes To The Man Who Raped Me, But I Didn't Give Consent

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Buzz, Heartbreak

In light of the Louis C.K. sexual misconduct allegations, we have to talk about consent.

The last month has been difficult for past survivors like me who have been deeply impacted by the allegations that so many of our Hollywood heroes have raped, sexually assaulted and sexually harassed women AND men.

It started with the bombshell report by The New York Times on October 5th outing producer Harvey Weinstein for decades of abuse against women in the industry. Feeling empowered by numbers, other men and women started to bring to light the assaults they have experienced by ... well, throw a dart on a board filled with Hollywood A-listers and I'm sure you'll hit one who's past is coming back to haunt them.

The latest, but least surprising, is comedian Louis C.K.

It had been widely reported across the web and in the comedic industry that Louis C.K. had a penchant for masturbating in front of other female comics. Yet ... nothing was done. 

RELATED: 6 Disturbing Details About The Louis C.K. Sexual Assault Allegations

Comedians like Jen Kirkman, Roseanne Barr, and Tig Notaro have all made comments regarding Louis C.K.'s behavior. In a 2016 interview with The Daily Beast, Barr was quoted as saying, 

“It’s Louis C.K., locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers. I can’t tell you—I’ve heard so many stories. Not just him, but a lot of them. And it’s just par for the course. It’s just shit women have to put up with ... These allegations have been leveled and talked about for years. I do not have first hand knowledge, though have heard women make these allegations.”

Let's back up to the fact that a woman feels it's par for the course and it's just 'shit women have to put up with'.

NO! 

It is never OK for any person — male, female, gender non-conforming — to feel that rape, sexual assault, harassment or 'misconduct' is just something they have to deal with.

In The New York Times piece outing Louis C.K.'s alleged sexual misconduct, an anonymous woman claims that after being asked by C.K. if he could masturbate in front of her, she said yes. 

“It was something that I knew was wrong …I think the big piece of why I said yes was because of the culture … He abused his power.”

Some may say, "Well, by saying yes, she gave consent, so he's off the hook." But that logic is a very slippery slope that we, as human beings, have to take the time to understand and debunk.

We can start by defining the word "consent". As per Merriam-Webster, it means to give assent or approval. 

But now, just for giggles, let's look up the word "duress". Duress: compulsion by threat or force; coercion; constraint.

As an aspiring comic, writer, business person, or whatever field someone is in, there is always a feeling of guilt in saying no to someone in power. What are the consequences? Will there be a punishment? 

RELATED: Why Rape Victims Stay Quiet (As Written By A Rape Victim)

If I say no to my boss, even though I know better than to do what he is asking, will he decide not to promote me? Will he fire me? 

These people in the entertainment industry didn't wake up and say, "You know what? I think today I'm going to grab a Starbucks and watch Louis C.K. masturbate." or "Hey! I'd love for Harvey Weinstein to rape me and tell me if I don't comply, my dreams will never come true." But still, many wonder if by just being in the room (and in some cases, going along with the sexual deeds of these people in power) makes these women complicit somehow. 

I understand the feeling because I have spent every day of my life wondering if I gave consent to the man who raped me.

He didn't have the power to ruin my career, but he did have the physical power to hurt or kill me. When I was in his car (I'm so stupid. Why did I allow myself to be put in that situation?), he asked for sex.

I said no and explained I was not in the mood.

He then reminded me that he was stronger than me (Again! So stupid! I'm to blame.) and explained that he had a knife in his glove compartment (I knew he did and still allowed myself to be alone with him!). After about 30 seconds of frantically trying to think of a way to get out of the situation alive, I acquiesced and allowed him to enter me. I said he could have sex with my body. 

So ... is that rape? I didn't know it was until I spoke to some girlfriends who screamed at me ... with me ... for me ... about being raped.

But I said yes.

(There's that slippery slope I mentioned earlier.)

Would you blame me for what happened? Did I ask for it by hanging out with the guy I was seeing and saying yes after being threatened with a knife? 

If you wouldn't blame me, then you can't blame the men and women coming out with accusations against men like Louis C.K.

Until you're in the position, you can't say what you would or wouldn't do. If your life or livelihood is on the line, sometimes it's hard to decide how to proceed in a situation that makes you so uncomfortable and vulnerable, it feels like bugs are crawling and dancing under your skin.

Why didn't I report it? Same reason I said yes. 

I was scared of the consequences; as I am sure many of the women and men coming forward with allegations once were.

So is yes sometimes a no?

Yes.

I said yes to a man who threatened my life, but he did not have my consent.

He raped me — and until more people take the time to listen to what women in these situations go through and stop placing the blame on the victims and not the perpetrators, we are giving a green light for more men and women to rape, harass, and assault people like me who were too afraid to say no. 

RELATED: Alarming Details About Charlie Sheen's Alleged Rape Of 13-Year-Old Corey Haim On The Set Of "Lucas"

Liza Walter is a writer who focuses on current events, pop culture, and true crime. She loves cheese, Game of Thrones, her husband, and son. Not necessarily in that order. You can follow her on Twitter @NerdyLiza.

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