It’s 2021. Can’t believe we still have to do this.
Okay, here goes.
Understandably, the grey areas that consent throws up makes a lot of us uncomfortable. (We hear you, boys) (calm down, feminists). But that’s no reasonto run away.
There are two essential components to a ‘yes’-
Unequivocal - it is loud and clear.
And, freely given - it is an informed decision, made without coercion.
Clearing the air is not annoying. And it does not kill the mood. She’s probably not playing hard-to-get. Outdated notions of gender and the roles they play in an intimate setting, are dangerous. Which brings us to,
Set ideas of gender and sexuality have led to an environment that doesn't just fail to penalise, but actively lends a hand to sexual harassment. Toxic ideals of aggressive masculinity or submissive femininity is one aspect.
Notions of marriage consummation is another. Is it the husband’s stated right to have as he desires? Of course not.
Conversely, is marriage some consolation for a crime? Maybe we leave that to the SC to answer (you get one more try, don’t screw it up).
Laws around rape have been tricky to navigate, largely because of the heady brew of emotions that the subject brings up. Conversations include misplaced, if well meaning, activism and deep-seated patriarchal beliefs. But it’s also a tricky legal maze – is it possibly to ascertain what passed between two people with certainty? Who shoulders the burden of proof?
The dominant thought puts the burden on the perpetrator, but that, as we have seen, leaves loopholes to be exploited. The sensitivity of the matter, and a culture of political correctness, makes deeper conversation impossible.
Public outrage adds the final blow. Cases of rape become fodder for breaking news, twitter hashtags (what is that even achieving?), and prime-time debates. They interfere with judicial proceedings.
The stories die. New ones come up. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.