The “stereotypical” rape scenario has been put in our minds, as everything else, by mainstream media. Rape is commonly viewed as an aggressor taking advantage of a screaming victim where violence is involved. However that is not the only form of sexual assault.
According to Canada’s criminal code, a person has committed sexual assault “(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly; (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs”. **Please remember that not all aggressors are male and not all victims are female.** This includes the violent mainstream scenario as well as having sex with someone who is heavily under the influence of drugs and /or alcohol and convincing, pressuring or tricking someone to have sex with you.
These “non-stereotypical” acts of sexual assault are considered “grey rape” as they present situations where the consent may have been questionable, pretty much a way to blame the victim for not blowing a whistle and screaming “no” at the top of their lungs. “Grey rape” is still rape. For sexual intercourse, clear consent must bond the people involved. Some “grey” areas can come from a person being too intoxicated to express discomfort, misreading body language, or the victim feeling too uncomfortable in expressing the fact that they don’t want to have sex. An anonymous victim says “I didn’t say the word no until the very end, but I was still visibly uncomfortable and completely reluctant to do things. The person continued to pressure me. I didn’t know that it was sexual assault at the time, but I did know that I was in a very bad situation”.
Clear consent can be achieved by constantly checking up on your partner and to never assume consent. As hookup culture continues to grow as the social norm of our generation, sexual assault rates continue to rise. But, more than half of all rape victims refuse to report the crime and a part of that comes from blaming themselves for the incident.
Remember that if you are a victim of sexual assault, it is never your fault. To move forward you can seek counseling services to talk to someone. Make sure that you are aware of the people you are partying with and never leave your drink unattended. Know your sexual boundaries, and if you feel uncomfortable with a person, tell them. You aren’t a “bitch” or “being rude”; you are stopping a situation because it’s not good for you. If a person continues to try and convince you to have sex with them after your refusal or obvious discomfort, don’t feel like you need to give in to their manipulation.