There have been a spurt of reports recently where several, often underaged, people have claimed to have been sexually abused, manipulated and affectively raped by a handful of famous Youtubers. These Youtubers include Alex Day and Tom Milsom to name a few.
You may be asking, although we all agree that this is disgusting behaviour, why is this particular brand of celebrity-fan relationship abuse more concerning than some other celebrity scandals?
It’s because these people are seemingly harmless.
You wouldn’t let a 13 year old child go unoccupied to a rock concert, or a movie premiere, or even to a friends house party without ensuring adult supervision. However, that is not the case with Youtube. The online community has a incomprehensible fan base, mainly made up with 11-21 year olds. We are all perfectly happy to allow unlimited access because the people on there are seen as positive role models. They are involved in the community, trying to make the world a better place, singing songs about Doctor Who, having walk-throughs on games and learning how to apply eyeliner.
Any form of sexual abuse (i.e. unwanted sexual contact) can result in a criminal record and a sexual relationship with a minor can result in you being put on a sex offenders list, and consequently, jail.
Sadly, I know several people who have been pressured into participating in sexual acts via intimidation, feelings of vulnerability by authority figures or psychological belittling. This is one of the saddest facts about modern life. What’s even worse is that only one talked to the police about these experiences, and even they dropped the charges after a few days. And that was that.
Everyone feels sympathy for the victims, but also tries to see things from the other persons point of view- some getting angry at the victims for getting themselves into those situations. That is wrong.
You wouldn’t blame a burn victim for being in a burning building, and in the same way, every single person should be held accountable to check, double check, triple check that their (age-appropriate) sexual partner is consenting.
Not saying no does not mean yes.
Many people can be felt uncomfortable in saying no, partly due to our societies inability to talk about sex without the entire nation spluttering incomprehensibly, turning red and quickly changing the topic to talk about the weather. The actual rules and regulations of sex as an act are hidden by innuendoes and metaphors, and the result is that everyday, there are people who are pressured into feeling as if they can’t say no.
You should always ensure that your partner is consenting, by either asking them directly (and repeatedly) throughout, or/and by being aware of their body language (as in smiling, whether they are reciprocating etc). If they are notably uncomfortable or not happily participating in the act, then both morally, and legally you have to stop.
Otherwise you are a sexual abuser.
If you are still unsure about the definition of consent or you want to educate yourself further about the subject here are some links to videos who have discussed it further and have listed their references:
Also, If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel pressurised or manipulated into participating in sexual activities, please remember that you are in control of your body. You do not have to do ANYTHING you don’t want to, and if they threaten you, remember there are always ways to get out.
One of my best friends got told by her commanding officer that she would be chucked out into the night in the middle of London unless she slept with him. She felt as if there was no other option. There is always a way. Even if it means heading to a 24 hour McDonalds or waking up your friends and seeing whether they can help pay for a taxi, pick you up, or help arrange for a place to crash with someone they know and trust (preferably someone you know too). I’ve known people stay behind in clubs until they’re about to shut and offered to help tidy up if one of the staff (usually the same gender as themselves) returns the favour with a place to crash for the night.
There are nice people in the world who are willing to help. But in the same breath, be sensible about who you ask dependent on where you are.
Common sense = surviving and remaining unharmed.
So please, there is nothing wrong with a bit of fun, and it’s okay to consent to something, and then regret it and then refusing to do it again. Consenting once is not a blanket yes.
So stay safe, be sensible and always ask for consent.
Sexual interactions are never owed to anyone. It is your choice, and how you feel.
Also, if you see anyone who is being sexually harassed (by either gender), try to go over and help them. Even if it’s just giving them a way to leave the situation- by pretending to be a friend, or their partner, or asking them to go over for a coffee. The number of fake, lesbian relationships I’ve had in clubs in order to dissuade someone whose a little too keen, I’d be giving Ellen a run for her money.
STAY SAFE. STAY AWARE.