At my advanced age it is not very often that I read something I find viscerally disturbing, but that proved to be the case with an otherwise excellent report from Cooper Worth at the Daily Iowan on 05/12/22: UI student accused of attempted murder, robbery had multiple UIPD reports made before arrest. In reporting additional information about the psycho who strangled and robbed a female student on the University of Iowa campus, including multiple prior contacts said psycho had with the UI Department of Public Safety, one of those prior incidents was related by the victim in the passage excerpted below.
In reading along, see if you can identify the point at which the question of consent was ignored by the psycho, thus revealing him to be a perpetrator:
One first-year female student at the UI reported Younes to the UI Police Department on Oct. 15, 2021 for allegedly sexually assaulting her the night before in his dorm room. The DI granted the student anonymity because her story deals with sexual assault.
The student, who lived in Slater Residence Hall along with Younes, said Younes approached her at night while she was doing laundry and asked her numerous times to go up to his room with him.
She initially declined but said Younes wouldn’t take no for an answer. After multiple requests, she finally agreed to go up with him to his room. In Younes’ room, the student said, everything began consensually, with the two of them briefly kissing.
She said Younes then tried to escalate things.
“It got to a point where he kept pressuring me to have sex with him, and I didn’t want to, and I told him no over and over again until I just couldn’t say no anymore,” she said.
The student said she finally agreed to have sex with Younes. Afterward, she went back to her room and told the story to her roommate.
“I tell her what happened and she’s like ‘That doesn’t sound consensual at all,’ and I was like, ‘You’re right, it doesn’t,’” she said. “We told our RA, who told the hall coordinator, who then called the cops.”
If you said consent was violated at this point — “…asked her numerous times…” — you are correct. Specifically, after the initial invitation was declined, everything that happened after that was not only a contravention of consent, my hope in writing this post is to emphasize that if you are ever in a similar situation that is the point at which you should see red flags waving and hear sirens going off. And to be clear — no, I am not ascribing any blame to the victim in this case, following the detailed reasoning in this post. My intent here is to simply empower people, and particularly young people, to recognize that they should interpret any evidence that they are not being listened to as an immediate warning.
From my perspective as an older male, were I in a similar position and found myself being propositioned by someone who “wouldn’t take no for an answer”, at only the second entreaty I would be asking myself if the person was a physical threat to me, and if so I would be looking around for available objects I could use to beat that person to a pulp if they escalated. And I mean that quite literally.
The aggravating circumstance in the except above, and in far too many similar instances across this country and around the world every minute of every hour of every day, is that most such predatory abuses are perpetrated by males against females. And I think that’s particularly important because the average male is roughly two to three times stronger than the average female — which most men seem to be aware of, but I’m honestly not so sure about women. In any event, the very fact that the average male is usually much stronger than the average female underscores the degree to which verbal and physical persistence should be interpreted as an immediate threat by females who find themselves being pressured into acts of any kind that they do not want to perform.
I do understand that there are cultural norms in play, including the idea that males pursue females. I also understand that most such interactions don’t involve people who will turn out to be homicidal. Still, I would encourage and empower everyone to raise their standard of consent to a maximal degree, such that any pressure or salesmanship or persistence is seen as the violation of consent that it is. If you say ‘no’ to someone, and they ignore you and persist, you are not obligated to keep talking or to endure more appeals. Instead, that’s your sign to get out, or to call for help if you feel at risk.
Consenting adults don’t pressure each other to do anything. If you’re with someone — or worse, if someone imposes themselves on you, and particularly if they do so when you are alone — and they don’t take what you say seriously, then at best that person is immature, and at worst that person is a threat to your well-being. Listen to your gut and ignore any reflex you have to be polite, or to think about the wants of someone who has already demonstrated that they don’t take what you have to say seriously. No one who deserves to spend time with you in any context would treat you that way.
— Mark Barrett