It took me 18 years to learn that sex could be on my own terms.
Until then, my sex ed. had been standard: condoms, babies and birth control. Oh, and that video of a woman giving birth. I learned then that sex was something I would submit to, and probably not enjoy. And it would probably happen on someone else’s terms, because women don’t make the terms in sex ed. I also learned that women who didn’t follow those rules would be punished. I would be a slut. I would be without safety and without support.
It’s no surprise that that education didn’t get me far. Hell, I’m more surprised that I made it out alive and am standing right here, right now, in front of all of you. Because nobody in sex ed. told me how to ask for sex, or that I could. Nobody told me I had sexual rights. Nobody told me I deserved safety. And nobody told me about consent.
Consent is a powerful concept for our world, especially as it continues to struggle with victim-blaming, sexual assault, and misogyny. Because consent gets all of us talking about sex. To our partners. To ourselves. A world built on consent: no silence and no shame. One free from violence and coercion. One based in autonomy, respect, and power. A world where “no” is respected, and – more importantly – “yes” comes without consequences. Consent liberates us. It gives us a voice. A world built on consent is built on our terms. On our voices.
We’re all here today because we know our voices are important. We’re all here because we can’t sit down and be quiet. Because our voices are important and they need to be heard. Because we should be able to live on our terms.” —Carmen Rios, SlutWalk D.C. (via consentual)