Scroll Top

Consent and violation

A drop of water falls on a water body. A silhoutted figure in black-and-white is seen in the background.

I was in standard 9th. She was our new Political Science teacher. Our entire class adored her; after all, she was one of the most frank teachers we had. I and two of my female friends were quite close to her. We would make sure we occupied the first bench. Our teacher exchanged numbers with us when we graduated 9th standard. She would often text me. Soon, she told me about her family, her children, and also asked me about mine. She would text me several times a day, harmless texts, like we all did.

Then one night, she texted me at around 2.00am, declaring she was pregnant. I was stunned. After all, why would my teacher share something like that with me? Nonetheless, I congratulated her. She then she said that she was kidding, and that her condom was too reliable. I was taken aback; I decided not to reply anymore. Next day, I decided not to over think about it, and replied to her texts casually.  Though, she made several attempts at bringing up sexual topics with me. I remember telling her how much I enjoyed a lecture by a Physics teacher when she commented abruptly if I wanted to have sex with him.

Few weeks went by, and she invited me and my other two friends for lunch. My two friends left soon enough and she asked me to stay for coffee. As she prepared my coffee, I stood in the kitchen watching television when she got close to me and began to unbutton my shirt. My body couldn’t register what was happening as she undressed me; I stood immobile as she continued. I did not move, even a bit.

I could not share it with anyone. How could I? I would have been told to grow up, be a man. Men cannot be abused right? Or I would have received applause, because a woman was into me. I spent the next few days in guilt; after all I didn’t stop her. It must have been my fault, not hers. I could have stopped her, she didn’t use physical force. Did that mean I consented? But I did not indicate I was enjoying it. I did always try ignoring her sexual texts. That should be enough to indicate discomfort. Shouldn’t it be?

Before readers reach a conclusion, I would like to make it clear that my motive behind writing about this was not to advocate for equal rights for men, or for gender neutral rape laws. I would be very wary of doing that in the culture of active victim blaming where constant comments and judgments are passed about what the victim was wearing, about why she was out late at night. I wouldn’t want to do more harm than good.

How hard is it to seek someone’s consent? Why can’t we verbally ask for consent? Because boys are socially assumed to be always sexually charged up, do we assume their consent? Can boys not refuse to consent? Can boys not take charge of their bodies?

Is it because I was young and young people are assumed to not understand sex and sexuality till they are 18 but that yet somehow gives people right to sexually violate them? I felt sexually attracted to people. I mean, I was not a child; I could have consented/denied consent if I was asked. Or is it because asking for consent means acknowledgement of sexual desires that we are taught are indication of perversion. These questions are never answered.

Photo: By LostOneself