TEDx 2015

(Wait till its quiet)

 

IMAGINE…

 

A Sunday spent with your best friend at the movies.

He insists on buying your ticket. He’s never offered before. Later, he insists on treating you to dinner. He mentions that he can be a gentleman. That he can take you on a date. This was never a date. This was just another fun Sunday hanging out with your best friend, right?

 

Later you plan on returning to you apartment. He asks if he can join you. You tell him you’re just going to do homework. He doesn’t want to be alone. He’s upset about some girl. You feel for him. But you already spent all day with him. And he already said some weird stuff to you…still he’s your friend. Best friend. You don’t just leave your bro hanging.

 

You head back to your apartment. An hour later he arrives.

 

For about two hours you both sit at your computers.

Why hasn’t he gone home yet? You’re not doing anything interesting.

 

You decide to say something, to clue him in to leave.

“I’m going to get ready for bed…”

 

“Can I stay over? Please? I can’t go back to my apartment. It’s so lonely. I just can’t be alone tonight.”

 

Alone. Tonight. Those are the words he used when he was suicidal that one time.

 

“Ok. Fine…you can stay.”

You do it so your friend doesn’t attempt suicide again.

 

Thinking he’ll sleep on the floor, you put on your baggy pajamas and brush your teeth. When you walk into your room, his clothes cover the floor.

 

“Why are you in your underwear?”

 

“I don’t have pajamas” he replies.

 

You offer him pajamas but he refuses.

 

Fine. So you accommodate. You’re always accommodating.

 

Until suddenly:

 

Suddenly

 

Your best friend begins to pull your clothes off.

 

You try to move but you can’t feel your hands or your feet.

All you can feel is the pain rushing from your pelvis and the loud pulse in your head beating inside

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

WHY HIM?

WHY ME?

WHY WON’T HE STOP?

 

He pulls the covers away, ripping off layers of humanity.

Claiming ownership to a body that’s not his.

He doesn’t see you—his best friend, a person— instead all he sees is the flesh underneath him.

 

Nothing will wake you up from this hell.

 

You swallow the air around you and close you eyes,

feeling guilty

feeling stupid

feeling gross

your body has been defiled by someone you trusted.

 

(PAUSE)

this is me.

this is my story.

 

my best friend raped me

my best friend violated me

my best friend took everything precious to my heart and ripped it away.

 

I struggle saying I was raped without wincing because I have been too ashamed by the stigma of being violated. But I will not let that hold me back any longer. That’s why I’m here today. I never want anyone to go through what I went through. I don’t want anyone to feel what I have felt. I know that we can and must demand a higher standard from ourselves and each other so that all sexual experiences are positive. And wanted.

 

(BREATHE one, two, three, four, five)

 

What can we do?

(STEP FORWARD)

(PAUSE)

We start with respect and communication. Respecting and communicating with ourselves and with others. That means listening to and honoring our feelings. And theirs. And it means sharing our feelings out-loud.

If you are feeling something, say it. Be it enthusiasm:

“YES, I want to kiss you.”

To uncertainity:

“I’m not sure if I want to do that…”

To a definite: “no”

Feelings exist for a reason. They help us determine what’s safe and what’s worth exploring. Feelings allow us to connect with one another. And to connect with one another, we need to communicate.

 

Clear, respectful communication helps us actively and verbally check in with each other and truly consent to what you are doing. Consent is the verbal agreement to a specific act or activity. If one doesn’t want to do something, respect their feelings.

(Consent is critical to intimacy, but it’s important to in every aspect of my life, relationships and participating in new experiences.)

 

So that means discussing what you are about partake in. Sharing how you feel about it, what you are and are not comfortable with— setting boundaries. And consent is not a one time conversation – it’s honestly checking in with each other throughout the sexual experience.– and only proceed if both of you are willing and interested.

 

When we honor feelings, respectfully communicate and confirm consent, we re-humanize the sexual experience. You and I are three dimensional human beings with experiences, feelings and thoughts. Sex is more than just doing someone. It’s being with someone. It is the highest form of intimacy and connection. So have compassion for yourself: honor your feelings and boundaries. And have compassion for others: by respecting their feelings and boundaries.

We all deserve positive sexual experiences. And we can be the start to a new sexual revolution today. We begin by

simply talking,

acknowledging feelings,

practicing consent, and by setting a higher standard.

 

(beat)

 

Thank you

 

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