You have to read this powerful HONY post about consent

Humans of New York, the incredibly viral Facebook page that shares frequently profound stories of individual New Yorkers, has brought attention to one of the most important issues of our time: consent, and a reminder that the absence of a ‘no’ is not a ‘yes.’

The post, which has received 206,000 likes, 14,437 shares, and thousands of comments so far, includes a photo of a young woman whose face is not pictured. In the caption, she shares a devastating and powerful account of her first sexual experience, and the traumatic years that followed before she truly understood consent.

The woman describes the summer before ninth grade when a boy she had been kissing asked if they were going to have sex. Frightened and not ready for the situation, she kept saying, “Maybe.” The boy grew frustrated and said, “Let’s flip a coin.” They had sex, and he forced her to leave afterward. Traumatized by the assault, the woman says it took her years to accept the incident as not her fault, and to understand that, “Consent is not a coin flip.”

This young woman’s experience of assault is horrifyingly common, especially when our country’s sex ed programs do not nationally teach affirmative consent, nor do they teach that most rapes are perpetrated by a person the attacker knows — a partner, friend, etc.

A huge number of commenters are sharing their own stories of assault, speaking out in support of the young woman, expressing their hopes that she has gone one to have a wonderful life, schooling any commenters who try to argue that this wasn’t rape, and imagining how they will raise their sons and daughters to understand what consent is and is not.

It is not consent if you are afraid to say no, or if you are coerced. Consent is revocable, as Amber Rose has explained in a perfectly concise manner.

The HONY post powerfully remind us that our culture desperately needs to change, but it also reminds us that there are thousands of people advocating for the same fight.

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