I gotta say, I'm smitten with Grrrl Army and their pepto-pink PSAs on rape. They're a little like forcing the public into a comprehensive 8th grade sex education class. Their latest wall in the U-District is dedicated to consent.
Slog tipper Julia
WHAT IS CONSENT??? the wall screams. VERBAL AND PHYSICAL AGREEMENT. HOW DO YOU GIVE CONSENT?
The message is as striking as its color palette. While rape is obviously defined by its inherent lack of consent, there's not a lot of discussion about the various physical and verbal cues people give to demonstrate that consent. And it's rarely as cut-and-dry as someone saying, "Will you have sex with me now?" and getting the response, "Yes, I will have sex with you."
For instance, I give consent through a series of short, coyote-like yips accompanied by the swelling of my vaginal walls. (Unusual, I know, but as my mother is fond of saying, I was raised by a pack of wolves.)
And like everything else in the world, there is a spectrum of physical violation. There are strikingly violent rapes perpetrated by strangers in dark alleys, and there are rapes perpetrated by friends after a night of heavy drinking, when what a woman thinks of as drunk buddy behavior is misconstrued by a male friend as an invitation to hump her. And then there's everything in between.
I don't think we'll ever completely eliminate rape from society. Call me cynical, but I think there will always be predators who prey on women because fear and violence and physical domination—that lack of consent—is tied to their sexual gratification. But we can cut down that spectrum of sexual assault by having conversations about how women and men telegraph their consent to each other. And for that, I thank you, Consent Wall.
More pics after the jump, courtesy of Slog tipper Julia.