Short story about consent: Eyes Wide Shut

June 7, 2022

Collage created by Ananya with images from Pexels

Ananya Badithe explores the importance of consent in relationships

She opened her eyes and blinked as he rolled off her. That was her display of denial. After he had caught his breath, he got up swiftly and pecked her cheek.

“All good babe?” he asked.

She knew the right answer. “Yeah,” she said, forcing a smile.

“Awesome.”

That’s all he needed to be convinced. He couldn’t see through her mask, however visible and cracked it was. Words were all that mattered to him. Words that complied with his.

“Could you make us some coffee, please?” he asked.

She got up, grabbed her clothes and walked unsteadily into the living room. Her gut lurched. She knew something about this wasn’t right. He patched up fights with sex. Not in a way that’s sweet or playful but in a way that shut her down. She felt sick as she thought back.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

Their loud voices were all that could be heard battering the walls. Both trying to overpower each other. They had lost track of what their fight was even about. As she came to, she stopped screaming, her body still trembling. She knew this wasn’t going to resolve anything.

“We need a break from this. We need to calm down first, get our heads straight and be away from each other for a few hours. This isn’t getting us anywhere.”

His eyes sharpened, pierced by anger. He couldn’t stand the fact that she needed a break from him. He charged at her, grabbed the back of her, spun her round and kissed her.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

She opened her eyes and blinked as he rolled off her.

As they sipped on their coffee, silence wreaked through the room. On her end, out of fear and confusion; on his end, out of control and satisfaction.

She felt disgusted with herself.

She had tried hard to push him away. But he read that wrong, as a sign of passion.

“Not now. Really. Not now,” she muttered.

He found passion and power in that too.

She had lost all sense of ownership, autonomy of her own body. For a second, she felt he was entitled to her. They were together; it wouldn’t make sense to say no.

They were together, after all. This was allowed. This was expected.

Right?

He was entitled to have her whenever.

Right?

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

But isn’t a no a no? For anybody? In any circumstance? At any time?
So why, even if just for a second, had she felt this was okay?

Why? Just because they were together?

Consent should be a constant.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

Consent is about communication.
So why is he blind to my words? Why are they left unheard?

Consent is when people mutually agree to have sex.
So why is my no not enough? Why does my ‘no’ spark his ego?

Both partners must be consenting, expressing it either through words, body language, or both.

Right.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜
If you are affected by any of the issues explored you can get support from: SafeLives which is operating the, Your Best Friend Fund – The #FriendsCanTell campaign – to educate and empower young people to spot abuse in relationships and support their friends.

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