You will find my website, blog and social media profiles contain photos of me in various states of both dress and undress. This is my choice since it is both my body and my online space. I am allowed to wear short skirts, yoga pants, crop tops and leggings without “asking for it”. I’m allowed to express my sexuality and pose in my underwear without being “deserving” of violence. What you wear has nothing to do with the amount of respect you have for yourself or the amount of respect you deserve. From naked to fully covered and/or veiled, the choice is yours and yours alone. No matter what you put on your body, you deserve safety and bodily autonomy. Rape culture, victim blaming, slut shaming and wardrobe policing are all so tightly connected that essentially, they fuel one another. Like anyone, I am allowed to decide where I hang out, who I chill with and what hobbies I enjoy without being blamed for my own sexual assault. I’m allowed to exist online as a woman without being sexually harassed with unsolicited dick pics and private messages I never agreed to. Unfortunately, we live in a world where these statements are not common sense and as a result, I have joined with Amber the Activist and her newly created page @creatingconsentculture to change this.
As a survivor of sexual assault, taking back control over my own sexuality is something that has been very empowering for me. Some abuse survivors become very promiscuous for a variety of reasons and others shy away from any or certain sexual acts because of their triggers or fears. I was the latter and it was a struggle to get where I am today. Through lots of counselling and exploring my body alone, it was safe and really helped me to recover. In order to feel sexy, I had to feel safe first, that was the priority. Now that I do feel a sense of safety, I love expressing my sexuality. I express my interest in being sexy and having sex in the same way that many men do, but because I am a woman it is sometimes seen as crude or inappropriate. Well, fuck that sexism! Women are sexual beings and in fact, our entire society relies on women having sex and sometimes getting pregnant as a result. So why is anyone judging a woman for having as much sex as she wants? It is her body, her life, her choice. Go follow the accounts mentioned above and search #creatingconsentculture on all social media platforms for more information on the project and how you can get involved, either as a survivor or as an ally. Together we can create a consent culture!