Vino & Vulvas: Consent and Sexual Assault

captureThis week I got to attend a great gathering of people at a place called Vino and Vulvas in Asheville, NC. From their website, this is what the group is about:

What is Vino & Vulvas?

Vino & Vulvas is a monthly discussion in Asheville, NC that creates a space for education, curiosity, and pushing the conversation of sex past limits of traditional gender roles.  We are a group of pelvic health specialists, sex therapists, sex educators, somatic sexologists, counselors, ministers, and LGBT activists who will be having panel discussions with time for questions on a  plethora of topics centered around sexual wellbeing. This is a sex positive group and anyone (regardless of gender, age, orientation, or ability) is invited to attend.

We provide an open space for talking about challenging topics that are often taboo. We meet in a public venue to get out of the shadows and create an open community where all of us (women, men, genderqueer, trans, gay, straight, bisexual, experienced, newbies, kinky, vanilla, young, mature etc.) can laugh and learn more about our sexual selves. We can start to bridge the gap between sexual healing practices, medical sexual health, and sex therapy. It’s sure to be an exciting journey. Have a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, or a snack and enjoy some edgy, inclusive, and informative conversation. I hope you join us!”

I wanted to share my notes from the meeting, which was about consent and sexual assault. If you are in the area and can make it out to this great group please come join us sometime:

VINO AND VULVAS – 11/7/16

Our Voice

-Seeing change around sex and sexual practice.

-Trauma creates a world for black and white thinking. A negative is a negative, but there’s positives. Recognizing negatives is validation that the event was traumatic.

-Lack of consent not being understood (tea video).

-Asking is sexy (consent means asking). Verbalizing is needed because body language isn’t always understood.

-Yes is an affirmative word. Legitimatizes wants and needs.

-Consent isn’t an all encompassing answer to do something every time.

-A woman touching herself isn’t a welcoming for a man to do so. It doesn’t give away her rights. Being a sexual being doesn’t mean we can be sexualized/demeaned/taken advantage of.

-We are the bosses of our bodies. Giving children the right to touch and be touched by sharing their consent.

-Grounding Techniques for working with sexual assault victims: biiiiiig out breath/sigh brings down feelings of stress and anxiety around trauma. Fighting ones own inner critic. Grounding the feelings into our bodies (center in our center not in our minds).

-Narcissism personalities (partners): narcissists are bullies. Non-consent is about power and it’s used by bullies. Power should be used as leadership and don’t abuse privilege. Bullying and sexual assault is about damaged relationships.

-What barriers are there to sharing our stories? How can we break through the shame? Victims have the lotus of shame placed on them. Make the shame story the perpetrator’s shame story.

-Sharing stories is cathartic and empathic. Stories create meaningful relationships, which create meaningful change. Telling the stories of sexual assaults helps to the sacredness of consent. Stories are teaching tools. Story sharing is about being brave and courageous and hearing the stories of others first. Stories can be told in a plethora of ways. What do we want back from sharing our stories and writing them in a way to get that?

-To confront sexual assault and fight sexual violence, we need to honor that which fosters meaningful connections and honors choice. That which honors choice is loving. On a personal level, we should practice consent more (asking to touch someone). Asking needs to be normalized so that consent is acknowledged. Conversation about consent and asking for consent can change society. Look for ways for our words to be received without confrontation.

-It’s not fair to men or women that for a woman to feel safe she must assume every man just sees her as an object or receptacle.

-HuffPo articles that are about sex positive and children and consent.

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