Last night I attended the “Can I Kiss You?” presentation sponsored by The Women’s Center. The speaker used humor to talk about the party and dating scene and asking for permission. Several people laughed as he asked if they have ever been asked to be kissed. The audience agreed that most of the time people just go for it. He asked why and the response was that by asking if they can, they are afraid of rejection. The speaker went on to make a good point, so because you are afraid of rejection you don’t give the other person a chance to say no? He said it’s important to be given the choice before the act occurs, so you don’t have to be defensive.
Aside from asking for permission the presentation was about rape. His sister is a rape victim and that is what led him to speak out against sexual assault. He published a book with the stories of several victims of rape and I began reading it.
One victim said, “I lost the possibility of sharing that experience for the first time. I lost trust in other people-I sometimes look at them and wonder what bad things they’re thinking or doing. I feel I can’t go anywhere without being afraid that he’ll be there or that he’ll find out where I live. I lost the ability to have fun; I lost my carefree attitude; I lost my innocence. I lost myself. He took that from me” (Voices of Courage, p.30).
A male victim who shares his story on college campuses said “It’s one thing to write in a personal journal about your experience. It’s another thing altogether to become an agent for change in a violent and unsympathetic world” (p.20).
It made me think of how I would feel if I were put in a situation like those or if one of my close friends or family members was. We left the presentation with three things: We have the power to stop rape from happening, we can let our friends and family members know that if anything has happened to them or ever does that we are there for them, and to simply ask first.