The more you read and the more diverse the books you’re reading are, the more you grow as both a person and a reader. I can honestly say that I’m not the same reader I was in middle school, high school and now in my final year at a post-secondary institution. This became evident while reading some books where the behaviours that I once saw as romantic and appropriate in high school are now behaviours that I see as troublesome.
I’m talking about the way in which the bad boy is romanticized when he takes agency and choice away from the female protagonist or when abuse (physical, emotional and/or verbal) is used as a form of control especially in the context of sexual relationships that lead into territories of sexual assault. In high school, I thought sexual assault was just rape where you’re forced to have intercourse by a stranger. I found out in University that not only does sexual assault happen more frequently by someone you know (stranger danger is actually rare) but the definitions of sexual assault and rape are more than what I initially thought and aren’t interchangeable.
Definitions are from Dictionary.com
The important thing you need to understand about either definition is that in order for it to be consensual (where both parties agree to participate) there needs to be INFORMED CONSENT. Informed meaning that BOTH parties need to be consciously giving consent which means that they can’t be impaired when giving consent. Consent meaning that they must verbally agree to participate so
- a non-answer is not an answer
- a no doesn’t magically become a yes
- an underage person is not in a position to give consent at all so let’s not even consider that
- sexual advances by a person of power (like a teacher or boss) is a no-no because saying no becomes harder when they are in a position to threaten you with unemployment or grades
- and the obvious being that one person is physically threatening another with bodily harm or/and death is definitely NOT consent
Why am I writing about this? Well, February is Sexual Assault Month and after exploring the wonderful blog called Sexual Violence in YA Lit (and Life), I wanted to do my part in being a part of the conversation. Myself and fellow blogger, Christa over at More Than Just Magic, are taking this week to explore sexual assault and violence in YA Lit (as well as in comics) so that the discussion lives on and that, hopefully, others are informed. Here is the schedule for the posts:
- Monday: A. A. Omer
- Tuesday: More Than Just Magic
- Wednesday: More Than Just Magic
- Thursday: A. A. Omer
- Friday: A. A. Omer & More Than Just Magic
Feel free to participate by leaving comments on the posts.
A. A. Omer