What ‘Anatomy Of A Scandal’ On Netflix Teaches Us About Consent In Sexual Relationships

Women here are conditioned to believe that “they owe sex” to their male counterparts. Most of us don’t even know much about own bodies or how we like to receive pleasure.

Trigger warning: rape, gender based violence

*some spoilers ahead*

I watched “The Anatomy of a Scandal” on Netflix because it was trending. It revolves around the topic of “consent” and it got me thinking about several things.

First things first: what is consent? Consent is basically agreeing to do something, or “willingly” allowing something to happen. By consenting to an action, you’re saying that you are willing to do it.

The limited series is based on an affair, and things go south when the woman the lead has an affair with accuses him of rape. Then, there is a trial and a lot of court hearings. In the end, the man is proven innocent by the jury because according to them: “Why would he rape a woman he was already having a sexual relationship with?“

The survivor specifies that even though she was in a relationship with him, she said no to sex once and he forced himself on her. And, that’s the thin line of difference between consensual sex and rape. When the woman said “no”, he should have stopped.

But, he was entitled enough to think that why would a woman he was having an affair with, say no to him. He says “stop being a tease”. When the woman did not consent to having sexual intercourse with him and he decided to assault her, it was rape!

Why Consent Is Compulsory

This man has a history of sexual assault but always got away with it because of his manipulative nature. He would gaslight the survivor into thinking that they consented to it, when they didn’t, and were just too scared to speak up against him.

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And, when another survivor who was subjected to his abuse, was asked why she didn’t go to court, she said that nobody would have believed her over him. This is because he had the reputation of being the good one and doing the right thing.

This got me thinking about how people still do not understand “consent”. If the people involved in the intercourse are not consenting to sex, it’s rape. It’s just black or white, there’s no grey. Now, you can be drunk, intoxicated, in whatsoever state, but if you have said NO to sex, it should stop right there.

Just because someone is intoxicated, doesn’t mean one should ignore their boundaries by persuading them to have sex. Photo credit: IMDB.

There should be no more talk, no more persuasion… Nothing. The other person can’t, “absolutely can’t”, make you think that you asked for it, even if you consented to other, sexual things, but not penetration. You do not owe anyone anything.

And, just because you are consenting to sex once, doesn’t mean that your partner is entitled to do it again with you, without your consent. CONSENT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN EVERYTIME YOU ARE HAVING SEX, between the individuals involved. It can be your partner, a hookup or a fling.

Survivors Of Sexual Assault Are Victim Blamed

CONSENT IS NOT A ONE TIME THING. Just because someone is consenting to having sex with you once doesn’t mean they will consent to it again, necessarily, and you should respect that.

It’s also the root of why people stay in abusive relationships, thinking that’s how they are supposed to be, because it is normalised to that extent. In India, marital rape is still not penalised. Recently, in some courtroom hearing, a judge said he could grant bail to the rapist if he agreed to marry the survivor.

Now, she will be married to her abuser who will rape her everyday, but that’s her husband, right? Men are entitled to do whatever they please with their wives and women are conditioned to be subservient to their husbands. Why?

Indian judges ordering rape accused to marry their survivors, is as problematic as it is sexist. Photo credit: IMDB.

Because of the lack of sex education, sex is a stigma in our country. Even though no-one talks about it, we are all having it because we are one of the largest populations in the world. Ironical, isn’t it? Blurry lines are created between consensual sex and rape, using a hell lot of victim blaming.

In every rape case, there are remarks such as: “why was she wearing such clothes?”, “why was she out after it got dark?”, or “she must have asked for it.” And, we have the all-time classic “men will be men”, meant to defend men.

Sex Education Is One Of The Solutions

This is the reason so many rape cases are not even reported, because men will be men and they can fool around as well as have sex. But, if a woman has sex, she’s deemed to be promiscuous. The lack of education regarding women’s sexual health and pleasure, makes it even worse.

Women here are conditioned to believe that “they owe sex” to their male counterparts. Most of us don’t even know much about own bodies or how we like to receive pleasure.

It’s high time we start educating people about sex. We ought to make sex education mandatory in the curriculum and it should not be limited to just sex for reproduction,because it’s awful and vague, the way they teach us in middle school.

It’s so vague that people tune in to porn sites for sex education. Most of the porn that’s up on the Internet is garbage and nowhere close to reality. If people are educated enough, they will know about pleasure, contraception, and the most important: CONSENT. Because, if there’s no consent, there’s no sex. Sex without consent is sexual assault or rape.

Featured image is for representational purposes only. Photo credit: IMDB.

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About the Author

Ishika Satwika Singh

A Journalist, Editor, Cinephile, Music enthusiast. I write about pop culture, social issues and primarily advocate for women’s rights through my writings. You can check out more from me @YouthKiAwaaz/Ishikasatwikasingh read more...

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