Growing up, I was taught to be very conscientious of my safety. My family is from Latin America where the machismo culture creates a very unsafe environment for women. Having been lucky enough to travel the world, I know that this is true of most places. Rape culture is pervasive and many aspects of it are based on "good intentions" but definitely misses the mark.
For example, Catholic school taught me that I needed to dress modestly in order to not tempt men. Well, in the Middle East women are completely covered from head to toe and yet they have statistics that demonstrate how incredibly rampant sexual violence towards women is in their day-to-day lives. Rape culture also taught me that if I dressed sexy, people around me would rapidly make assumptions of what I was or was not comfortable with.
It's also critical to note that rape culture affects both men and women. Rape is about power and not about gender or sexuality. Often when there are a string of attacks, or as we've seen with young women in college the advice given to those who are vulnerable is that they should self-limit their own freedoms:
- Don't wear what you want. They could misinterpret what you want and rape you.
- Don't drink. You could black out and they could rape you.
- Don't hang out with men alone. They can't control themselves and will rape you.
Telling anyone that they should or should not do something in order to prevent being violently assaulted puts blame on survivors, insinuating that somehow what they were wearing or what they were drinking led to their attack. This logic is false and has to end.
That's why I started Revolar. To empower consent culture.
With consent, you have the opportunity to have intimacy with another person. Without consent, there is no intimacy, only violation. Let me be super clear about this, sex is only possible with consenting adults. If there is no consent, that's rape. I read somewhere this great metaphor that helps clarify this topic. There is swimming and there is drowning. No one has ever referred to drowning as non-swimming. Sex without consent is impossible, that's quite simply rape.
I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure that no matter who you are, you feel empowered to enjoy your freedom to its fullest potential. I want you to wear and enjoy social settings that make you feel happy. I want fear to never hold you back from making incredible memories with friends or loved ones. Life is full of moments where we doubt whether it's safe or not safe for us to do something. I want you to live your life to the fullest–whatever that means for you.
That's empowering consent culture. Revolar is my platform for enabling greater personal freedom for people of all ages and across all backgrounds. Living life independently is a gift. I want Revolar to help anyone feel brave enough to explore their world solo while still knowing they are never alone.