Asexuality and Victim Blaming

30 Mar

I would like to start this post by situation myself in relation to this topic: I do not identify as asexual, but throughout this semester I have been open-mindedly exploring and learning about this complex identity both from sites like AVEN (The Asexual Visibility and Education Network) and scholarly pieces. While perusing the AVEN forum, I noticed several participants posting stories about their experiences dating sexual individuals. In some, there seemed to be a great understanding and mutual respect within the relationship, but in others, the asexual person was being made to feel guilty about their identity and lack of interest in sex. In a few posts, asexual identified people dating sexual men (in the very small sample size I observed, the sexual partner was always a man) wrote about a situation in which their partner crossed the boundaries they had established and engaged in a sexual act that the asexual partner never consented to. It saddens me to know that this is happening to people in the asexual community, especially with people they thought they could trust. But what really angers me to see responses on the forum that read:

“You had a violent experience. Sounds like some part of you wanted that or else you  wouldn’t have put yourself in that situation.”

Victim blaming is victim blaming no matter what the circumstance, identity, or relationship-status is! A few simple definitions that apply to everyone are consent and coercion. Consent is a clear and freely given YES, not the absence of a no. Many of the situations I read happened while the asexual identified partner was asleep… that is NOT consent. Another common feeling expressed in these forums was the feeling that they owed their sexual partner something. In the same way a heterosexual woman never owes a heterosexual man for buying her a drink, an asexual identified person should never feel that they have to do something with their body that is not comfortable. Coercion can be defined as “the use of emotional or psychological force to pressure someone into giving in to a sexual act they would not otherwise perform.” My hope is that everyone, in all types of relationships, would never have a partner who they trust and love coerce them into sexual acts.

Take away messages? You have the right to be comfortable with everything that happens to your body. You have the right to say no to any sexual act. And if you are sexually assaulted, it is never your fault.

Posted by Claire Peterson

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One Response to “Asexuality and Victim Blaming”

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  1. Monday Linkspam « Writing From Factor X - April 4, 2011

    […] Find (Y)our Way: Asexuality and Victim-Blaming While perusing the AVEN forum, I noticed several participants posting stories about their […]

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