“‘NO’ is a full sentence.” – Pink, 2016

I made that bold and centre for a reason.

I grew up in a world where “No” is not always an acceptable answer. I don’t mean being a kid at a mall crying for Barbie. But as an adult, when it’s time for a phase in your life you’re not ready for. ‘No’ does not stop my parents from finding me a groom. ‘No’ does not stop our family from expecting us to be pregnant. ‘No’ does not stop them from planning a life I don’t want for myself. ‘No’ is considered disrespectful. ‘No’ is treated like a bad word. ‘No’ is an unacceptable answer.

But that cannot be an excuse.

I watched this video titled “India’s Daughter.” A guy said she was asking for it when she decided to roam around so late in the night with a man. Really? What if that had been her brother? You wouldn’t have known the difference anyway. I have brothers who look nothing like me. Does that mean I’m asking for it?

In the movie Pink, the guy says, “She laughed. She touched my hand. She was asking for it.” You want a woman to constantly control her hands, her face, her smile so you don’t feel irked?

Dress decently or you’ll look like you’re asking for it. Laugh slowly or he’ll think you want him. Reduce that make up or you’ll look too easy. Come home early or he’ll think you’re one of “those” girls.

Why is there so much pressure on one gender to control everything?

Why can’t a guy control his libido and keep it in his pants? Why can’t he control his mind from wandering to places it shouldn’t with a woman who’s simply looking for help? Why can’t he control his hands and not molest innocent people?

For a world that limits women from so many things, we have absolutely no problem placing her front and centre when someone violates her personal space and hide the man behind reasons that shouldn’t even be acknowledged.

Brock Turner. 6 months for rape. 6 months. Because he’s got a life. He’s young. He will never rape again. Really? This is someone who, in his right mind, saw a drunk woman, pushed her behind a dumpster and made the choice to rape her. If those men hadn’t seen him, he’d have gotten away with it. And so he’d have done it again. And again. Until someday, maybe, he gets caught. The court would’ve said the same thing. Because there’s ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF that he hasn’t done this before. For all you know, that girl would’ve also been intoxicated and has no idea he’s the culprit. But ‘he won’t rape again.’

If she says No, irrelevant of how drunk or sober she is, how many men or women she’s with, how late in the day or night it is, you don’t touch her.

If she says No, it doesn’t matter what you think she’s signalling, how you interpreted her body language or what you think she wants, you respect her personal space.

If she says No, whatever it is your friends encourage, whatever you think you’ll get away with and whatever it is you want in that moment, you will keep your hands and your dick to yourself and walk away.

Because No is not just a word. It is not indecision. It is not consent. It is not an invitation.

No is a full sentence.

And it means No.