“The 7.34am train is now cancelled, the next train is at 8.06am”
Oh great…..thankfully I’d spotted an empty seat on the platform, so at least I’ve somewhere to sit. It was a beautiful day. The sun always makes me happy and there wasn’t the usual crazy crowds of people bumping me all over. Being a shy and petite type, I kind of have that problem in crowds that I just don’t get seen lol. It has its up sides though because I’m not much of a people person anyway and I’m rarely flattered by unwanted attention. I was raised in an all girls catholic school & have always been known as the ‘socially awkward’ one with the added ingredient of not having had kids and neither having had many boyfriends.
15 minutes drift by aimlessly scrolling my social media & I decide to have a few seconds on twitter to catch up on the Johnny Depp case…. ‘Rapist’ ‘animal abuser sick bitch’ ‘I’m going to find your address and cut your throat and show your family your filthy dog abusing face and show them who you really are’ ‘you should be banned from ever going near an animal again in your life sicko’ ‘dog raping slut animals can’t consent but I consent you to die whore’ ‘I know who you are, I know where you live, I know where you work, I’m going to expose you to the world before I rape you and kill you’ …..ok then…maybe I’ll check on Johnny later because now my focus is not bursting into tears in Starbucks!
I’ve fought the shame and mental turmoil of my attractions for my entire life and I can always avoid the people who judge me, but with social media, there is no avoidance….only outrage. My phone becomes my front door, for all those disgusted to pound and pound and pound on.
I accept I don’t live everyone’s chosen life, I’m a single woman in my early 30’s, I don’t have kids, I live alone in a nice house in a remote village with hardly any neighbours with my dog Bonzo and my parrot Captain Chaos. I’ve been k9 exclusive for 4 years by choice and I have enough experience with dogs to know what’s what. However, no dog I have EVER met has consented to anything sexual or not. They can’t consent! But they can damn sure show their intent….and as the female of the couple, it’s me who gives the consent to him. It’s me who acknowledges his intentions towards me and I decide to consent to him or not. Ok with my own dog he knows I will make myself available to him anytime and anywhere he pleases and that goes without question, but consent?
As I sit on the train, I notice a much older man sat opposite me. He looks to be in his early 60’s maybe, very unkempt, yellowed teeth, unshaven, dirty fingernails, dull wedding ring, a slight yellowing around his shirt cuffs, shoes worn way past the point of renewal, and almost visibly dribbling with his eyes locked on my skirt. Does he now care about my consent for his staring? I feel so awkward, worried, almost dirty and slightly violated by his hard stare. I realise I’m now visibly bothered by him, but my obvious awkwardness seems to encourage him more. This invasion is non-consensual. I absolutely do not consent to him at all, and yet still he drills me with disgust in his eyes. I can’t escape him, I can’t avoid him, I can’t stop him, and yet I do not consent. Does he care? For the rest of my day I feel unsettled, violated, slightly abused by this disgusting man’s behaviour. He didn’t care about me or my feelings, his wife nor her feelings, his family, etc etc. He obviously had no interest in consent from anyone.
Consent…..permission for something to happen or agreement to do something….should that permission always be verbal? I’ve never been asked by a human partner if I consent to sexual activity. I’d think it absurd if someone did ask! The ‘consent’ is always given non verbally, with body language and non-verbal encouragement and interaction. If I don’t consent that’s a different story altogether. I will literally say “No” and stop the person in their tracks doing whatever they’re doing. But, I’d do that with my dog too. The difference is, he’ll stop immediately, whereas men will push and push and…well you get the idea.
How do we debate a basic fundamental of communication and interaction? Should we even try?
Article written by Nat June 2022
Find them at https://twitter.com/knotaholicnat