No means no

Illustration by Rewon Shimray

Without a doubt, sexual assault is a conversation that has dominated the media and rightfully so. Most recently, sexual assault has been associated with college campuses. However, what is important to realize is that sexual assault is a conversation that moves beyond college campuses and that one of the most actions if you or someone you love has fallen victim to sexual assault is to do something about it.

There cannot be any justice if you do not speak up. When you speak up and tell someone, you are saying that you will not stand for yourself or anyone else to fall victim to this horrible experience.

Within the past week, media mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault by some of the actresses in the films that he has produced.

According to CNN, Weinstein has been stripped of his membership from the American Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, the entity that presents the Academy Awards.

In a statement, the academy said the action, which is effective immediately, was intended “not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”

In an article from the New Yorker, Weinstein can be heard in a voice recording trying to manipulate a young actress into going with him into his hotel room. His voice is piercing as he persists that this woman go away with him.

Harvey Weinstein, Founder of the Weinstein Company has worked in both film and theater. From producing to directing, many of Weinstein’s projects have shaped the cultural landscape of our country. Yet, little was known about what was going on behind-the-scenes, until now.

Here at Baylor, the conversation about sexual assault is one that is tragically familiar. However, the Harvey Weinstein scandal is a reminder that sexual assault is an issue that extends beyond colleges and universities. Sexual assault is a lifetime conversation, one that we must not be afraid to have.

Sexual assault is defined by the Department of Justice as, “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Regardless of the circumstance, sexual assault is never OK, and we must understand that sexual assault is a real problem.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every 90 seconds. Ninety percent of the victims are female. Organizations like RAINN exist to provide resources to those who have been sexually assaulted.

Additionally, the Harvey Weinstein scandal is yet another testament to the importance of communication that you have with your significant other. When they say no, they mean no. Not maybe, sort of, kind of, they absolutely mean no.

Being able to be comfortable with your mate is integral to a healthy relationship, but you must also be comfortable and ready to say no when you are not comfortable. Don’t feel like you have to put pressure on your mate to make a decision in your relationship.

When your mate says no, they mean no. Don’t pressure them into doing something for your gain. If you are pressured, stand your ground and tell your mate that you are not comfortable. No means no; no if’s, and’s or but’s.