I woke up Saturday morning with a smile on my face. Got out of bed, took a shower, dressed, cleaned up my place… Maaade me some breeaaakf — wait, my bad y’all — got carried a way for a minute there. Anyways, it was 60 degrees outside, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. I went to my little god brother’s basketball game and then went out to brunch with one of my besties. I was having a good day.
That is, until I got home and got on Facebook. I was scrolling down my news feed when I saw a post about something Amber Rose said. I kept scrolling. Not today, Amber Rose, I thought to myself. Not today. Then I saw another post about something Amber Rose said, so hesitantly, I clicked on it.
The post was a video clip gone viral of Ms. Rose on Tyrese and Rev Run’s new talk show It’s Not You, It’s Men, giving them the business about sexual consent. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is below:
Immediately after watching this, I popped my virtual popcorn and scrolled right on down to the comments section like…
A lot of folk — including me — agreed with Amber Rose for publicly reiterating the “No means no” principle. A lot of them were also trolling the mess out of Rev Run and Tyrese for seeming to not understand the basic principles of sexual consent. I’ll admit, the way the clip is edited does makes it look like Amber is giving both men their first lesson in Sexual Conduct 101. However, neither man ever said it was OK for a man to sexually violate a woman. What they were addressing was another part to this video that didn’t go viral. The part that actually segued into Muva Rose’s “No means no” monologue. Here it is below:
While shedding light on the fact that she gets “sexually assaulted constantly” by her fans, Amber makes a comment about how she’s tired of girls touching her boobs and guys asking to touch her butt because “this is my privacy,” she says. Now let’s pause here for a moment. We all know that no one has the right to touch anything that doesn’t belong to them. This includes the body parts of another human being. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the message that Amber is sending to her audience — especially her fans — is EXTREMELY contradictory. She is correct that her “private parts” are, indeed, private. And she has every right to deny a person’s advances when she doesn’t feel comfortable. But when you’ve built a reputation and an entire career on sexualizing yourself — one in which you post hella IG pics putting all your “privacy” on full display — it makes it kind of difficult for folks to understand what your personal boundaries are. And that’s just being real. In Amber’s case, these people aren’t just horny, perverted men who don’t know how to keep it in their pants — these are women too! These are people who admire her and who believe that if she’s comfortable enough with her body to show her goods on a regular basis, she must be comfortable enough to allow people to touch. Should they be groping and fondling her without her permission? No. But she has already built a reputation on the fact that she is sexually comfortable, so people will feed off of that energy. THIS is what Tyrese and Rev Run were saying.
I do agree with the part Amber said about the importance of saying “no” when it comes to giving sexual consent. The word “no” is a very strong verbal boundary that we all have a right to use at any given point to protect ourselves, and people SHOULD respect that. However, I also see where Tyrese and Rev Run were coming from by pointing out the fact that we — both men and women — put out a certain energy to others by the way we carry ourselves. And some folk are crazy and criminal-minded enough to take that energy and run with it. It doesn’t make it right, but it should make us more aware of our surroundings and the type of unwanted attention we attract when we choose to expose our “privacy” to others.
Let’s go back to Ms. Rose’s statement for a moment:
If I’m laying down with a man butt-naked, and his condom is on, and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this, I changed my mind,’ that means no. That means f—ing no. It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on. When I say no, it means no.
I experienced a situation once where I changed my mind and told a guy no. Even though he respected my decision — which he should have — I eventually came to realize that the position I put myself in with this man was a very dangerous one. Amber Rose is 1000% correct — “no” absolutely, positively means “no,” and every person should respect that. However, we as women have to understand that we are walking into very, very dangerous territory when we put ourselves in compromising positions like this because there are many men out there (i.e. rapists, sexual predators, etc.) who literally don’t take “no” for an answer. It’s not excusing their animalistic behavior — it’s being aware enough to take certain precautions in order to protect ourselves as best we can. God tells us not to let wisdom and understanding out of our sight, and to preserve sound judgment and discretion (Proverbs 3:21). We must be alert and wise in everything we do at all times.
Think about it this way: What do many of us do whenever we leave our homes? We turn on the alarm system and lock up, right? Why do we do this? As a PRECAUTION. What is a precaution, Kori? Precaution is defined as a measure taken in advance to prevent something dangerous, unpleasant, or inconvenient from happening. We know that there’s a lot of crazy folk in this world who will rob, kill and steal our ish with no hesitation. So as a precaution, we lock up our homes and turn on our alarms as a non-verbal way of saying, “This is my property and I will protect it at ALL COSTS.”
Now let’s say whenever you leave out of the house, you keep all of the doors and windows wide open. Because in your eyes, you feel like you shouldn’t have to lock up your place and set an alarm every time you leave your home. It’s your home, and you own it, so you shouldn’t have to shut all the windows and doors if you don’t want to. That is your right. You believe that people should have enough discipline and home training to understand that this is your property. Therefore, they should not be coming up in your house all willy nilly — whether the doors and windows are closed or not — because you did not give them your permission to enter. This way of thinking is not only foolish and unrealistic, but it is also very dangerous. Although you didn’t give anyone permission to enter your home, leaving all the doors and windows wide open gives a non-verbal signal to strangers that your home is easily accessible. While the folk with good morals and character have enough sense to respect your space by not entering uninvited, there are other folk — the robbers, killers and stealers — who will be provoked by your home’s blatant accessibility. They will perceive this as an opportunity to go onto your property and take everything that is rightfully yours. Does leaving the doors and windows open give that person the right to invade your personal space? No. Should they be reprimanded for doing so? Ya doggone skippy. But should you also hold yourself accountable for leaving all the doors and windows wide open? Yes.
Getting into bed naked with a man and rightfully denying him access to your body is equally as dangerous as leaving all the doors and windows to your home wide open and telling a potential invader that by no means are they allowed to enter your home. While it does not give that person the right to violate your personal property, it provokes them to do so. And unfortunately, provoking the wrong people can lead to tragic consequences.
Rape is undoubtedly the most inhumane, heinous violation and invasion of someone’s personal boundaries. What has happened to EVERY victim of rape is inexcusable and should be met with extreme consequences. So let me be clear when I say that in no way am I shaming rape victims here. I am not shaming the millions of helpless little girls who have been molested by family members and/or pedophiles. Nor am I shaming the millions of women who have been taken advantage of and sexually violated past the point of telling a man “no.”
What I am shaming though, is the IDEOLOGY that a woman can willingly walk into a compromising situation with a man and come out safe and unharmed off the mere strength of telling him “No.” Is this ideal? Yes. Realistic? Sadly, it is not. And because of this, we should be mindful of teaching our young girls this way of thinking. By a show of hands, how many of you honestly tell your daughters, “Honey, you can dress half-naked if you want to and have sex with as many boys as you want. As long as you say ‘no’ when you don’t want to do something, everything will be ok.” ??? If you do, I am seriously gonna pray for your daughter. Because this mentality is not only naive, it is extremely dangerous. Yes, it is important to teach our girls AND boys the importance of saying and respecting the word “no.” Yes, we should ABSOLUTELY teach our young boys the importance of respecting a woman’s personal boundaries and learning how to take rejection with class. But it is equally as important to make our girls aware of getting themselves into certain situations that can bring about unfavorable outcomes.
Amber went on to say this:
If I want to wear a short skirt or a tank top, and I’m at the club and I’m having fun with my friends and I feel sexy, I’m not DTF (down to f—)… I didn’t come here to have sex. I didn’t come here to hook up with nobody. I came out here with my girls and I just feel pretty. I’m not ‘asking for’ nothing.
A woman who wears revealing clothing deserves the same amount of respect as a woman who dresses modestly. Some men with good character will still show her the respect she deserves, while others, who have no sound knowledge of respect and/or personal boundaries for ANYONE, will perceive her attire as an opportunity to invade her personal space. Should people like this learn how to have self-control? Absolutely. And they can successfully do this by learning how to actively deny their flesh and live by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13). But we as women also have a duty to hold ourselves accountable in this regard as well (1 Timothy 2:9). Can women choose how we want to dress? Yes. Does dressing modestly necessarily prevent women from getting sexually assaulted or objectified? No. Just like locking the doors and setting the alarm systems in our homes doesn’t prevent someone from still breaking and entering because WE CAN’T CONTROL A CRIMINAL. All we can do is be aware that there are criminals in this world and thus take the necessary precautions to secure and protect our “homes” to alleviate the chances of us attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Ladies, our bodies are our homes. And while we all have the choice to do with them as we please, we must also understand that certain decisions we make can bring about certain consequences that we don’t deserve. It would be ideal to wear whatever we want without having to worry about someone getting the wrong impression of us. But sadly, we have to live based on reality. And the reality is, we must ultimately live to protect ourselves. And protecting ourselves goes way deeper than reserving our right to say “no” in a compromising situation. Sometimes, “no” means not going home with the man we just met at the club. Sometimes, “no” means going to get our own drink instead of taking the drink that was offered to us by the cute guy at the bar. Sometimes, “no” means not inviting our date up for a night cap. Sometimes, “no” means simply being more conscious and wise in our decision-making to prevent us from getting into a potentially dangerous situation that we may not be able to get out of.
My prayer is that women will come to understand that being more mindful of the image we are portraying and who we decide to get into bed with does not mean we are excusing the behaviors of men who sexually violate women. It simply means we are choosing to take certain precautions in order to protect ourselves against the harsh realities of this world.