There’s this idiom I read that really made me reflect deeply. It says, “Silence means consent.”, which means that if you do not object to a certain thing, it is assumed that you support it.
Although not entirely factual, I guess that humans really have a way to interpret one’s stand on something. It is how humans assume incorrectly on others’ stance or opinion. It is a concept of social interaction that just assumes the lack of response as tacit approval.
Similarly, as a kid, I’ve always heard some friends tease each other with “Silence means yes!”, especially when other kids get questioned by things they don’t want to answer. No matter how childish the questions may seem, the “Silence means yes!” thinking grew with some people.
Silence does not equate to consent, approval, or affirmation. It must be respected as what it is, just silence. This fact has an exception when one’s silence becomes complicit, but that’s another story.
Consent, in its simplest definition, is the permission or agreement obtained from someone. In a sexual context, it means to make a mutual, voluntary, informed decision between clear-minded, of age participants before any and every sexual act.
Generally, the “Silence means yes!” culture affects sexual assault survivors. With some people still blaming sexual assault victims rather than putting sexual predators behind bars. Up until now, you can still hear some people say, “But she didn’t say anything, which means she liked or consented it.”
As much as it makes my blood boil, one must understand that victim blaming is more of a product of the fascist character that is the patriarchy. Just imagining the re-traumatisation of the survivors is extremely painful, much more if you add insult to injury via victim blaming.
We can blame it on poor sexual education, or how traditionalists and fascists ruled the nation for years… There will be numerous to blame, but it should never be the victims.
Also, sexual predators hate being called out. Even if it may be difficult for others to speak up about their experiences, it is now time for survivors to be empowered to speak up and be heard. One must know that silence only gives the power to the oppressor.
“See, if everything is sex
Except sex, which is power.
You know power is just sex.”
— Janelle Monáe; Screwed, from the album “Dirty Computer” (2018)
In spite of the fact that it seems like a rocky, difficult path to tread, we must stand up for our survivors and start educating each other regarding affirmative consent in the attempt to #EndRapeCulture.