(hell, yeah) Scarleteen

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"A friend of mine was in a relationship about 2 years ago. He’s a guy. His girlfriend at the time pressured him into doing oral sex by saying that if he didn’t do it that meant he didn’t love her. Would that be sexual abuse? Because if a guy pressured a girl into giving him a blow job that would be considered sexual abuse and I’m just double-checking to see if that goes both ways.”

Heather Corinna replies:

This doesn’t just go both ways, it goes — it needs to go — ALL the ways. For everybody. Always.

I really appreciate you asking about this. It’s something we remind people about often, both on the site and in our social media, but I feel like we can’t talk about this enough or provide enough reminders. Thanks for giving me the opportunity not to just answer your question, but to give others more of this crucially important information.

People of any and every gender can be, have been and are, sexually abused or assaulted, and can be by anyone of any gender. Sexual abuse and assault isn’t just something can men do to women. It’s something women also can do to men, or women to women, men to men, or people of any gender can do to someone else of any gender. While the prevalence of sexual assault varies among different genders and combinations of genders, and isn’t the same for all (though who reports and doesn’t influences that data, and many survivors do not report, especially men, so our numbers on men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault are most likely lower than they truly are) it’s not exclusive to any one group or pair of people in terms of gender.

Double-standards stink as a rule, and the double-standard that’s sadly common around this issue really, really smells. I’m glad to hear that it sounds like, even if you aren’t 100% sure, or need some backup, you basically know the right answer to this one already. It sounds like your gut and what you already know are telling you that yes, of course, any kind of sex without full, freely given consent from everyone isn’t consensual sex, but instead, some kind of abuse or assault.

Consent — the truly bonafide kind where people are as free to say no or not now as yes, as where whatever answer they give is accepted and respected, even if it’s not the answer the other person wants — matters for everyone. Not just for women or only with women, not just for people in certain kinds of relationships — or only for people who aren’t in committed relationships — not just for any one orientation of people, or people of a given age: for everyone.

Read the rest at Scarleteen here.

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