Early Lessons in Consent

“I swear, I’m going to beat the shit out of that guy.”

DJ expressing her anger at a boy who was a friend but proved to be less friend, more asshole.  (Her words.)

This random outburst came when she got done with taekwondo last night and glanced at her phone when getting back into the car to go home.  I thought initially that maybe she was still pumped and ready to go from doing all the sparring or something in class, but then she told me the story.

“Remember when It old you that guy was dating my friend Sue?” she started.

“Yes, but they broke up.”

“Yeah, and he started being such an asshole about everything that no one wanted to hang around him anymore.  He knows Sue wants nothing to do with him, but he still thinks we’re buddies.  And now he wants to date another friend of mine, Jen – and Jen wants to date him.  And I want to beat him,” she ended with a sigh of annoyance.

“Ok, I’m missing something – what did this guy do?” I was reading between the lines. The fact she is in a frenzy to beat the kid told me I was missing some details.

“When Sue went on a date with him, they went to a movie at a theater downtown.  After the movie, he wasn’t making her do things she was not comfortable with.” I could tell DJ was choosing her words carefully – but the words she chose awoke the mama bear instincts in me.

“What kinds of things?” I think DJ could tell by my tone that I was listening and not happy with what I’m hearing.

“Oh, in comparison to what it could have been, it wasn’t bad but it was far from good.  After the movie, it was kind of late, and he wanted to wander around downtown.  Sue is a nervous sort anyway, but she just wanted to go home as she was not comfortable being out that late.  And she kept commenting about how she wasn’t comfortable and was tired and ready to go home, but he kept telling her no – the date was not done.  This made her even more uncomfortable – and because Sue is so soft spoken anyway, she didn’t know how to assert herself to make him truly understand that she wanted to go home.  Finally he told her that the only way she could go home is if she kissed him.  At that point, she didn’t want to kiss him but wanted to go home more than not kiss him, so she did.  Then she went home and wanted nothing to do with him.”

DJ went on to say that when Sue told her that DJ responded with  “that’s fucked up – if you wanted to go, it should not have been contingent on anything.  You owed him nothing.  He should have respected you.”  I guess it was only when Sue said it out loud that she realized how screwed up the whole night was.

And DJ realized that she needed to stay away from that kid else she would beat him for doing shit like that.

But now, now she has another friend wanting to date the guy.

Sue sat down and had a talk with Jen about her experience.  “We all have to respect her feelings of attraction to this guy,” Sue explained to DJ later.  DJ’s response was that Jen needed to go into it informed, knowing her friends have her back, but being very clear of her own boundaries.

Her friends have asked DJ about her own relationship with her girlfriend – looking to her as a gauge of what they should or should not do.  I was happy to hear her say things like “and if they don’t respect that is where you are at – respect you don’t feel ready for something, then they aren’t worth liking.  No one should feel pressured. I’m thankful that when I communicated that to my girlfriend that she understands and respects that because she likes me – how can you like someone then disrespect them?”

When retelling this discussion to G this morning, I ended with “this guy is going to rape someone at the rate he’s going, if he thinks that is ok to manipulate people like that.”  G shook his head, “Rape is bad but this guy is going to do something worse like trap a girl into a long term abusive relationship that really fucks her up.”  Sadly, that seems to be the path he’s on.

I told DJ that if she does beat the shit out of this kid to make it look like an accident – or have her witnesses lined up ahead of time.  I also told DJ that she needs to have a talk with Sue.  Sue may be meek and very soft-spoken, but she needs to learn how to get herself out of situations and not feel trapped.  I am concerned that someone may take advantage of that sometime.  I’m happy all he got from her was a kiss because it could have been much more – and much worse.

I hate that I even have to say that to DJ – tell her to coach her friend to be assertive to protect herself.

Because someone needs to have a talk with that boy about consent and respect – a lesson he clearly has never had taught to him.

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