Making Analogies For Sexual Assault

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Picking up from yesterday (talking about consent and crime and all that…) –

Someone explained it to me once with this analogy… (And I know there are so many. But here’s another one, if you haven’t heard this one already…)

It’s like if someone came to your house because you often lend them $20. But this time for any reason (that you’re under no obligation to explain if you don’t feel comfortable explaining – since after all, it is your money), you think, “Oof. Maybe I actually don’t want to lend them money this time after all.”

And if they get there, and you say, “Eeeeeh, I’m sorry. I’m really not sure I can lend you money this time,” and they just proceed forward anyway, reaching into your purse, grabbing $20, and leaving, they have now stolen money from you.

They took it. You didn’t give it to them.

You didn’t yell at them or scream at them “NO!” But you still made it clear you were not offering up $20, and they took it – without taking any steps whatsoever to try to make sure it was okay. That was your $20. No matter how many times you’ve given them $20, no matter how giving and open you are, they can’t just take your $20.

And I suppose we could poke holes in that analogy all day – as we could with any of them. But I think they’re sort of the easiest ways to understand consent… kind of…

It’s also interesting to me that sometimes we need these analogies to help… On the one hand, I feel like they help me as I continue my journey with getting over my own sexual assault from earlier this year (and trying very hard not to blame myself).

But on one of the days where I struggling the absolute most – and one of my sweet, sweet friends was helping me – I was struggling through analogies to try to get across what I was trying to say. He said, “Friend, you don’t need a metaphor. You are a human person and someone violated your core humanity and ignored your subjectivity. You deserve more and better.”

Of course, that was told to me by one of the nicest, most wonderful people on the whole entire planet. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that he knows exactly what to say and is a genius. But it is interesting to me on some level that so many of us (including me) feel this need to use analogies, metaphors, what have you to compare ourselves with objects to make people see why something is wrong…

Is it truly easier to understand the nuance or intricacies or legality or ethical issues of a crime against a woman if we put it into terms of objects?

I mean, maybe I’m overthinking things here, but there’s something about that that’s interesting to me.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?