I Said Yes To The Man Who Assaulted Me — But I Didn't Give Consent

When yes means no.

Last updated on Aug 20, 2023

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The last few years have been difficult for past survivors like me who have been deeply impacted by the allegations that so many of our Hollywood heroes have assaulted and harassed women and men.

It started with the 2017 bombshell report by The New York Times 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 whose past is coming back to haunt them.


RELATED: Here's Why It's Hard To Recognize Sexual Assault In The Workplace

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

In The New York Times piece outing Louis C.K.'s alleged misconduct, an anonymous woman claims that after being asked by C.K. if he could touch himself 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, 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: How I Survived Decades Of Sexual Harassment (And A Brutal Rape Attempt) In Hollywood

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. touch himself." or "Hey! I'd love for Harvey Weinstein to assault me and tell me if I don't comply, my dreams will never come true."


But still, many wonder if just being in the room (and in some cases, going along with the 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 assaulted 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 intimacy.

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 touch my body. 


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

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 powerful men.

RELATED: The Sad Lesson Sexual Harassment Taught Me About Privilege

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?



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

He assaulted 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 the green light for more men and women to harass, and assault people like me who were too afraid to say no. 

Sexual abuse is very common.

RAINN reports that every 68 seconds, an American is a victim of sexual violence. Females are far more likely to be abused and assaulted, and 90% of victims who are adults are women. This is especially prevalent among women who also happen to be college students, which makes their risk three times greater.

Anyone affected by sexual assault can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a safe, confidential service. Contact The Hotline or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member.


RELATED: Study Shows How Sexual Assault Leads To Permanent Brain Damage In Women Later In Life

Liza Walter is a freelance writer who has appeared in HuffPost, BRIDES, Bust Magazine, Ravishly, and more.