Silence is Never Consent

We have to be careful about the rhetoric we use, especially in a forum that relies completely on written word.  I saw this this morning, and I decided not to address it on Patheos, because I don’t want to derail the conversation on racism that is happening.  At the same time, I am not okay with this:

A Quote from a Patheos blog reading, "Thank you for all your support in this discussion, but especially for this. It explains in great detail exactly why I wrote what I wrote. Silence is consent, and I do not consent to racism in my community." The identity of the quoted has been blurred out.
Identity withheld due to my assumption that the person quoted simply didn’t think this through before saying it since their chances of being raped are statistically less than mine.



By all means, draw lines when you feel they are needed.  Tell me what you don’t consent to even, because that’s really, really important. But silence?  Silence is never consent.  Ever.

I’m not unaware of the necessity for white people speaking out against other white people’s racist BS.  I will even agree that our silence when it comes to issues of white supremacy allows it to continue on.  We need phrases that challenge the tendency in human psychology to fear speaking out when we’re confronted with things that make us uncomfortable in a group.  Silence is compliance is a phrase I’ve used before.  Even compliance is violence.

But as a woman fighting against a world where people are raped and regularly asked what they did to get raped, or even told they can’t be raped due to their gender, I cannot and will not accept the muddying of what consent is by people who proclaim they are for social justice.

If this is acceptable rhetoric to the social justice community within the Pagan community, then I am incredibly disappointed and want no part in it.  While I consider it very bad form to derail conversations about one marginalized group with the plight of another, I think it behooves a person identifying as an ally to keep in mind the choice of words that they use, especially when calling others out.  Especially when one has the ability to stop and really pause to consider their words before hitting the send button.  There’s little excuse for such an egregious misstep in words.

Silence is never consent.

“Silence is consent” is how rape happens in our culture.

Pick a different word.

The only way to consent is to say yes, and if you don’t believe that then you’re as much of a problem to me as a woman as the racist is in the world.

Pick a different damned word for your rhetoric.