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We receive lots of messages about how to avoid being raped; how we can dress, walk, talk, drink, and think differently to somehow control whether or not someone is violent toward us. It's absurd because the very meaning of rape is that we can't control it. If we could we wouldn't get raped.

The focus of violence prevention needs to be put on educating people how to not rape. THIS is what schools and businesses and families and friends need to discuss. Six simple steps to not rape someone.

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How to not rape someone in 6 easy steps. 

Pretty regularly we are taught about how to avoid getting raped as if we have some control over another person committing a non-consensual act of violence toward us. 

For example: don't stay out after dark, watch your drink, travel in packs, wear clothing that isn't revealing, cross your legs when you sit, the list could go on ad infinitum.

I don't know if you know this, but we're taught to go to the other side of the street if something ahead is questionable, like an unlit area where we could be snatched up by a person with a higher center of gravity. We're also taught anyone can rape us. Most sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the victim knows, relatives, roommates, friends, partners. 

My point being:
We can not control whether or not we are raped.  Otherwise, we wouldn't get raped. 

So, it's on all of us to learn more effectively how not to rape. 

How Not To Rape Step 1: Know What Rape Is. 

Rape is defined as: unwanted bodily invasion involving genitals. 
So if you put your vulva on someone's mouth when they wanted you not to, that's rape. 
Penis in someone's anus when they wanted you not to, that's rape. 
Finger in someone's vagina when they wanted you not to put your finger there, rape. 

Even if they didn't say that they don't want you there, but they don't want you there, that is rape.  
And by law, if a person is beneath a certain age or incapable of legally consenting due to intoxication or developmental state, that's rape too. 

Consent is not the absence of a "no." It's the presence of a "yes."

Step 2 Ask For Permission

Say things like may I [put my tongue on your clitoris and finger you with my thumb]?
Do you want to [make out and ride my cock]?
I want to [spank you and pull your hair while you're upside down], are you into that?

If they are clear-headed and have the free-will to answer as they please then a yes, yeah, or yesssssssssssssssssss, is permission. You have consent for the sex. 

No, nope, nah, silence, changing the subject, laughing, averting their eyes, leaning away, crossing their arms, tightening their body, saying "later," "I don't know," or "I'll think about it," making noises like mmmmm, or iiiiiiii, are NOT permission. 

Responses like "okay" and "sure" are tricky because they are allowing something, but come on, we don't want a "sure you can put your dick inside me" we want a "oh my god, yes put your dick inside me!"

Aim for enthusiastic consent. 
After you get to know a person and have built trust that they can reject you if they don't want sexual contact, then you can shift more to nonverbal communication. 

Step 3: Respect the Response
Show the person that you care and admire the person for whatever answer they give by acting in line with their answer.  If I said " Hey, ther's this video on my phone and I really want you to watch" and you were like "meh" or  " not right now" It would be outrageous for me to go, look, look, look, look. 

I wouldn't be respecting you, even if the video is really short, even if you've seen it before, even if you end up liking it, the only outcome that shows my respect is not showing you the video and not being mean about it.  

So in a sexual version of this scenario where I ask to touch you and you want me not to, respect would be not touching you.

Step 4: Respect the Conditions

If the person does consent to play, they say yes, there are still conditions that need to be respected as well.  Some conditions are spoken like, yes, you can go down on me, after I shower or yes, we can try anal, but I'll need to stop if it hurts.  Other times, the conditions are unspoken, like yes, but you need to put sheets on the bed first, or yes, but not in public.

Make sure everyone involved knows the conditions, like no infectious diseases, make sure nails are clipped, condoms on from the get-go, pull out, at least 20 minutes of cuddling afterward, don't kiss and tell, or please kiss and tell.  

Here's a really important condition:  If someone changes their mind during sex and wants to stop, sex stops.  If you keep going, that's not sex.  That's rape.  

Step 5: Check In

The way you know whether or not the person does or doesn't want sex anymore is by asking, watching, and listening.  What are they saying and what are they doing?  It's probably the hardest thing to decipher because we don't teach in schools what it looks like when someone is or isn't into sex.  Is it amount of ecstasy or amount of disgust?  We do, though, teach and learn what it looks like when someone is or isn't into food, sports, animals, fashion, music, and games, and all of those apply.  Are they smiling?  Are they wincing?  Are they really into seeing what's going to happen next or fearful, like they just wish it would end?

Even if you're enjoying the experience, the check in is a way not to rape.

Step 6: Teach Others What You've Learned

Finally, step six, teach others what you've learned.  Teaching others what you've learned about how not to rape people will help you remember and be accountable to what you know.  One: what rape is, two: to ask for permission, three: to respect the response, four: to respect the conditions, five: to check in, and six: to share it with others.

Stay curious.