A young man in college has a reputation for being persistent in asking other female students for sex, dating or not. He never threatens those who say “no,” but he is tireless in such pursuits. Sexual encounters occur often between the young man and some of his classmates, including other men, who say that their encounters were non-consensual because they would not have participated had he accepted the initial “no.” How does a lack of threats and a lack of a power differentiation complicate the idea of consensual or non-consensual sex? Could his partners have just continued saying “no”? Does persistence count as a form of violence? Why might he be so persistent? What would you wish this man would understand so that he would change his behavior?
Scenario #2: You begin a new relationship. Your partner listens to you when you have issues and supports you, stops doing things you tell them make you uncomfortable, compromises, never puts you down, supports your ambitions, uses rational and calm tones during disagreements, apologizes, and aids your growth as a person. How do such “relationship green flags” stand in sharp contrast to sexual and psychological violence? What might other “green flags” look like?
Considering both of these above scenarios – where do young people learn about healthy relationships? How do we learn to grow into the types of people in scenario #2 and not #1? What do you wish you were taught about in order to cultivate healthy relationships?