January 28, 2018 - 8:36 a.m.
IF YOU COULD HAVE JUST WALKED AWAY, YOU WOULD HAVE DONE THAT.
"If a person — man or woman — feels, I may not be allowed to communicate that I’m not consenting, [the situation] turns into a safety planning," she says. "Someone is ignoring your cues, and you’re in a moment of considering if this is safe, because a person is ignoring your space or violating your space, and feeling entitled to do so."In other words, if someone is already disregarding your cues of a "no," your brain may begin trying to register whether or not this is a safe situation for you, and a factor in that consideration is whether or not this person can overpower you physically.
"If you could have just walked away, you would have done that," Kim says. "The human brain picks up on threat. The reptilian part of the brain will make a decision, and the only concern it has is survival." The main concern, she says, is getting out alive, even if that means freezing up or going along with a sex act that you were coerced into. "You're appeasing someone to prevent more violent behavior," Kim says.
I let that happen, sure, instead of something much worse. Maybe.
I asked myself the same questions people are asking here, because I had assessed this person as kind and thoughtful, and felt deeply ashamed and stupid afterward when I realized that I had been wrong. Not fighting made something that could have been much, much worse a situation that I actually got to walk away from. Hearing other women say that 'just walking away' could have spared me this experience is brutal. A lot of things could have gone differently, but 'just leaving' or 'communicating better' wasn't one of them.
Also worth noting: When someone stops listening to you, screaming louder doesn’t seem like a very effective strategy. I wish I could say I should’ve just been better at not getting raped, but I was only 15. I didn’t have a lot of experience in that department yet.