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No "No" Doesn't Mean "Yes"



To the Editors of The Crimson:

In his editorial "An Orwellian Nightmare" (March 8), Jon E. Morgan writes, "'No' is the bare minimum statement to constitute resistance" by a woman to a man's sexual advances. In other words, until a woman explicitly states otherwise, a man has the right to have sex with her. Morgan's backwards logic is unforgiveably offensive.

In trying to prove that the word "no" itself my be ambiguous, Morgan misses the point. If men can't figure out when a woman is uncomfortable or unsure about consenting, here's a helpful guide: until a woman says "yes," she means "no."

The absence of "an emphatic, unambiguous 'No," the response Morgan requires of a woman in order to consider her a rape victim, does not imply an emphatic, unambiguous "yes." Even if "no," as Morgan contends, means only "convince me," "not here," or "later," instead of "never," it still does not mean "yes."

Wearing seductive clothing does not mean "yes." Having a "come hither" look in one's eyes does not mean "yes." Wearing "fuck-me" heels does not mean "yes." Not saying "no" does not mean "yes." It may mean, "I'm not sure." It may mean "I trust far." It may mean, "I'm being coerced."

It is true that women are "responsible for making themselves properly understood," as Morgan claims, but this does NOT exempt men from making sure they understand. Women cannot protect themselves from rape as easily as men can protect themselves from rape charges. That's what being a victim means.

Go ahead, blame me for making women seem helpless and passive. Tell me I'm denying that women have the responsibility to take care of themselves. If expecting men to treat women with respect and consideration makes me powerless instead of just normal, I'm guilty as charged. Lynn Lu

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