The definition of sexual assault that we're often taught involves a stranger using physical force with somebody who clearly says "no." But in reality, it most often occurs at the hands of someone the survivor of sexual assault knows. Someone the perpetrator can coerce. A recent post on the Facebook page Humans of New York illustrates one form of sexual assault that is common but not always spoken about, Mic reported. The perpetrator and the sexual-assault survivor were "makeout buddies," and though she didn't say "no," she didn't say "yes" either. She only said "maybe" — and he didn't care. He just responded, "No more maybes. Let’s flip a coin." And then he made the decision for her. Because her rape did not fit the stereotype, she thought she was wrong to feel violated. "For the longest time I felt like it was my fault for feeling hurt," she wrote. "Like I was being overly sensitive. It took five years for me to realize that consent is not a coin flip.”
There's unfortunately a lot of confusion over what constitutes sexual misconduct, which is reflected in comments pointed out that this woman didn't say "no." But the good news is that "yes means yes" laws defining sexual assault as any sexual contact without enthusiastic consent are under consideration in several states, and one has already passed in California. As Humans of New York's post reminds us, sex without consent is assault no matter what, whether or not the survivor says "no."