Alleged rapist says woman told him 'no'—but it wasn't a 'hard no'

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Despite all the recent discussion around sexual consent, some men are apparently still confused about rape. Like really, really confused.


This past week a 22-year-old man named Austin Michael Brown was arrested in Nampa, Idaho, on a felony rape charge. According to court documents obtained by Idaho's KTVB 7 news, a woman told police officers that Brown invited her to his home back in June to hang out, and that's when the alleged crime took place.

The woman claims that when she got to Brown's home, he picked her up, carried her upstairs, took off her clothes, held her down on the bed, and forced himself on her. According to the documents, the woman claims she said "no" multiple times and even tried to fight him off but was unsuccessful.


Now for what seems to be the crazy part: Brown, in his initial interview with police, claimed he never had sex with the woman. Later on, however, he admitted to having sex with her but claimed the act was consensual because she didn't give him a "hard no." From KTVB:

[Brown] later said he had thought the encounter was consensual, telling police the woman had told him 'no' but that it wasn't a 'hard no,' according to court documents.

Can we just take a moment here to say: WTF?

Last time I checked, "no means no." Heck, even silence is as good as a "no," since it's not an active "yes." This is why many sex educators opt to use the "yes means yes" mantra to illuminate the fact that consent has to be active, and the person giving the consent has the ability to take it away—at any time.


Of course, that doesn't even seem to apply here. "No" was allegedly said—and still, the message was allegedly not received.

Guys, sexual consent is not hard. We've written about here, here, and here. Oh, and here. Read about it. The reason we keep writing about it is because shit like this keeps happening.


Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.

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