Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What Does a Guy Have To Do To Get a Yes?

I've been having an argument about what constitutes consent between two consenting adults who are engaging in a not-so-frum activity. No, I'm not talking about sex, but something along those lines. The issue is a guy who goes out on shidduch dates with shomer negiah girls and then gets a little too friendly.

What exactly is consent in that case? Let's say the guy kisses the girl and then moves in for some more "action" and the girl says nothing. Has she consented? If the answer is no, then the only possible mechanism to convey consent is a question followed by an explicit yes on her part. In other words he has to ask first, and she must unambiguously answer yes.

My friends (who initially started off disagreeing but now their opinions have seemed to converge) are arguing that the guy must ask and the girl must say yes. Is that realistic? Do guys really ask before they kiss the girl? Do they ask before they take each successive step? I have no experience here, but anecdotal evidence seems to argue against guys asking. Personally I think the guy should interpret the signals and if she never intended for the guy to kiss her, she can always say no.

Why must the guy ask? They argue that once he starts doing something the girl is too scared and surprised to do anything about it. She can't say no. What exactly is she scared of? I would have to assume she's scared of the guy getting angry and having his way anyway, this time by using physical force. So her choice is either the guy getting his action without causing her pain or the guy hurting her and still doing what he wants.

But is that really the situation? If a girl says no, would most guys really do it anyway? I highly doubt that. Only in a Feminist fantasyland are all men potential rapists and all guys completely dismissive of women's desires.

And who says the girl can't say no? Doesn't "no mean no?" Didn't Feminists fight to make sure that when a woman says no, we have to respect that? Clearly women can say no, even once the guy started (if "no means no" is referring to the girl saying no after being asked, well, that seems kind of obvious. If no didn't mean no then, what exactly would be rape?)

I think part of the problem here is that Feminists have convinced women that all men are possible rapists and if you set them off, they’ll do it. So women are justifiably scared of angering guys by saying no. We need to better educate women that most men won’t rape them and that they can say no. Because for most men, no really does mean stop.

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