Cup Of Tea Anyone? A Note on Consent

Most of us Brits (myself included) love a nice cup of tea, don't we?

But that's not the point of this post.

The point is this: if you offered someone a cup of tea and then they say no, would you force them into drinking tea? No. Would you keep on pushing them into drinking tea? No. Instead, you would accept that that person doesn't want a cup of tea, offer them an alternative drink (i.e. coffee, juice or a glass of water) and back off.

When it comes to sex and relationships, it's the same principle. If someone says no, then accept it - don't push it or take the piss. We all have the right to consent and we all have the right to say no. The tea/consent analogy is illustrated here in this blog post by Emmeline Mayand in this video created by Blue Seat Studios and uploaded onto Thames Valley Police's YouTube channel:

Despite struggling with low self-esteem and assertiveness my entire life, I've never had any issues saying no when it comes to sex and relationships. After all, my body is my own (my body, my rules) and I don't owe anybody sex or a relationship just because they asked for it.

Unfortunately, when I was at university and when I lived in a houseshare after I graduated, not everyone was understanding and a lot of people started putting pressure on me instead of respecting my wishes, because they felt entitled to do so.

For example, when I was at university I met a guy on my foundation year course called Adeyemi*. He seemed nice at first but in the end, he turned out to be a complete monster (but that's a story for another day).
Anyway, he initially asked me out and I said no. He asked me to come back to his flat and I said no. He asked me to come to his church and I said no. I said no because I didn't want to do any of these things and I was well within my right to say so. He pretended he had accepted my decision, claiming that he respected my choices and that we could still be friends regardless, but that was a total lie. Anytime I would refuse his requests on demands, he got more and pushy and started putting a lot of pressure on me. He just wouldn't give up or let go - he was determined to wear me down so that I would eventually give in and do things he wanted that were against my will and personal values. He'd go on and on about how I always said no and he even tried to say that I had agreed to his demands (I didn't) so he 'felt hurt' that I had said no as if I was messing him around (I wasn't). He'd even go as far as to say that I had "given him the signals" despite telling him quite clearly that I wasn't interested and I considered him unattractive, and he would imply that I had led him on when I hadn't. 

He even proceeded to get my so-called 'friends' and acquaintances involved and they would pressure me as well, further enabling his behaviour. Over time, his behaviour got worse and worse: he would constantly cross the boundaries, put me down and make spiteful and misogynistic remarks. He even tried to trick me and manipulate me into kissing him and sleeping with him, then when I called him out on his behaviour he sent me a very abusive text message. Then he proceeded to turn people within my group against me by making sly digs at me and by talking crap about me behind my back. He even went as far as to defame me for being a virgin, and he even made spiteful assumptions regarding my sexuality, implying that I must be a closet lesbian or asexual and that therefore there must be something wrong with me (he was extremely homophobic). Just for the record, I am heterosexual, I am all for LGBTQIA+ rights, I accept and embrace all sexuality and I'm not 'secretly hiding in the closet.'

He seemed to resent me for saying no and standing up for myself and as time went on, he seemed angrier and more determined to wear me down. It was like he was trying to punish me because as a woman I had dared to say no to him. It was like he could not comprehend the fact that I wasn't going to let him (a man) control me and tell me what to do. He couldn't stand the fact that his manipulative tactics were never going to work with me and I was never going to submit to him.

He clearly didn't respect my right to consent and my right to say no, and he blatantly hated me for it.

Once again, it goes back to the tea analogy. You wouldn't force someone to drink a cup of tea so why would you force someone into a relationship, or have sex with you?

In fact, why would you want to sleep with someone who didn't want to sleep with you? Why would you want to be with something who clearly didn't want to be with you? It doesn't make sense. A mutual relationship is so much better. A relationship where both parties consent to it and where both individuals are equal and in agreement regarding what they want for a relationship makes for a happier, healthier and fulfilling relationship.

After some time, I couldn't stand Adeyemi any longer, he was driving me insane. It became clear to me that he had a hidden agenda and ulterior motive - to bully, control, dominate and oppress me, as well as befriending me with the sole intent of attempting to sexually exploit me. I kept my distance and cut him out of my life and I cut off the so-called 'friends' and acquaintances who were enabling and encouraging his behaviour. Once I did that I felt a huge sense of relief. I've not been in contact with any of them since and I'm a lot better for it because, at the end of the day, I don't want to be surrounded with vicious, sneaky and nasty people who don't respect me and my life choices. I don't see why I should explain or justify my decisions to anyone, and I don't see why I should prove my worth to people who choose to demonize me just because they view mine as 'different' from them.

I find that whenever I stand up for what I want, I am perceived in a certain way, quite negatively in fact - according to certain people I'm a 'bitch' - but I don't care. I have my own voice. My body is my body. I have the right to consent. I have the right to say no. No one is entitled to me - I am not public property. This is my life and I am not going to sacrifice my thoughts, beliefs, and values on sex and relationships for idiots who don't care about me at all and don't respect me as a human being.

A man who cares about me and loves, respects, appreciates and values me would never ever set out to make me feel bad for being assertive, and he would never try to shame me for my decisions regarding my mind, body, soul and my right to (or not to) consent.

So...would anyone like a cup of tea? Yes? No? It's your choice and it's okay either way.

*Name has been changed.