poster 6


6. NO MEANS NO.  If you want to say No, then say it like you mean it! With a strong voice and loudly if you need to. Don’t say it like you’re sorry. Don’t say it with a smile. Don’t say it in a sexy whisper. Be assertive. Be empowered. Never feel you have to give consent to anyone. For any reason. You have the right to say No at any time. It’s always your choice. Sex with consent is sexy. Sex without consent is rape. Respect yourself. Respect your partner.

Tell us what you think. Comment here. 18 Comments


  1. Donna says:

    The media (advertising etc) constantly tells young women that to be thought attractive means to expose increasing amounts of your body. On FB and elsewhere, there are posts and images that give the impression that (particularly) young women are to be valued predominantly for their availability as sexual partners. This is partly the reason why women who dress in an overtly sexual manner are seen as consenting before they have even had a conversation with a man. Add music, alcohol and the vulnerability of women in social situations where inhibitions are reduced … and the recipe for mixed messages is a given. “She dressed a certain way”, “she behaved a certain way”, “she looked at me a certain way” … are not reasons for a man to continue if a woman says no. The myth of “she said no, but she meant yes” must be eradicated. A disco is a dangerous place for a woman … she may dress and behave in the way advertisers encourage her to, but this does not mean that she consents to sex. This also does not mean that she should be open to verbal or physical abuse. It is in any social situation that women who seek friendship with men are open to rape or assault. Whatever the relationship, however close, both men and women have the right to NOT consent – whether sex has been consented to on a previous occasion or not. To deny this right is rape. No … IS enough.

  2. Jamil says:

    Not only should women know what they DON’T WANT, but they also should explore their freedom to discover what they DO WANT. By buying into the societal norm that, sexually, only males can make the first move, women give up their power. And, unconsciously become sexual submissives, which indirectly plays into the rape culture in which we find ourselves.

  3. Jay says:

    I love this one – I was raped twice, by a partner and by a best friend, I felt like I couldn’t say no. I still see teens girls thinking the same way I did, thinking their boyfriends won’t like them if they say ‘no’ or ‘stop’. I remember sex ed telling me not to be pressured into sex, but without more explanation I just didn’t realise what that meant or that due to social expectations you can pressure yourself into having sex.

  4. Adina says:

    Alan: I’m sorry I misunderstood what you said. I agree with you. And as for Alice and Darlene, I see what you mean. We all have to take our responsibility, but our responsibility should be ASKING FOR, AND GIVING FREE CONSENT. Our responsibility isn’t to not have a too short skirt, our responsibility isn’t to hit our trusted friends in the face when they won’t listen to us. Of course it’s great if you feel you can stand up for yourself and say no clearly, but that shouldn’t at all be a “condition” for that it was sex without consent. I am not only blaming men. I am blaming our society’s norms and the perpetrators who don’t question what they’re doing.

  5. Darlene says:

    We all agree that men need to stop and take responsibility. They should take blame for what they do. But we also need to see that women too, have work to do. We need to ask ourselves – what is our our role in all of this? (e.g. playing the ‘teasing’ game is confused and confusing in these dangerous times). We must be clear about what we want and don’t want – and speak out of that clarity. Only blaming men and only seeking answers outside of ourselves, will not change the world.

  6. Alan says:

    Adina: A little misunderstanding … maybe I wasn’t that clear. I was explaining WHY reluctant submission, or silence, is taken as consent. I wasn’t agreeing with it. This skewed social conditioning of men and women – is precisely WHY many men think No means Yes.

  7. Alice says:

    Adina: You say, “girls are taught to be teases”. And you say, “every one of us has to take responsibility”. What then is the responsibility of women? At the very least, isn’t it this: that when we want to say No we should say it FIRMLY, as though we mean it? Isn’t that OUR responsibility as women? To let him know in no uncertain terms that we’re not “teasing” – that we are SERIOUS – that he MUST stop immediately? Sure, it might not be easy – but we have to do better than “try pushing away his hand”.

  8. Adina says:

    I am more than aware of the social norms of our society but saying that “And it follows that reluctant submission, or silence, is to be taken as consent.” is COMPLETE AND UTTER BS. If you’re not clear what your partner wants, ask them! And if they don’t say YES don’t force them to do anything. No means no. Alice: NO DOES NOT MEAN YES. In any circumstances. These norms are ridiculous, but to get rid of them each and every one of us have to take our responsibility. In general girls are taught to be teases and boys are taught to be pushy, but we have to start talking about consent. ASK YOUR PARTNER. It isn’t always that easy standing up and screaming “no!” in your boyfriend’s face when he tries unbuttoning your jeans. If you try pushing away his hand, you have said no.

  9. Millie says:

    I like this poster because it asks what women can do to avert a bad situation. Yes, men who don’t take No as an answer are completely at fault. But offering some advice on how a woman can handle a potential rape situation is hardly ‘victim blaming’. I think it’s empowering – after reading this poster I’m a bit clearer about what I could do, and should not do, in this situation. I love the photo, by the way. She’s got such great attitude!

  10. Alice says:

    Adina – Can No be said like you’re not really sure? Or, like you don’t really mean it? Can No be said as a tease? Can No actually be said like a Yes? If you agree – then it does matter how we say No. The one pursuing aggressively, usually the man but not always, will try to take advantage of some uncertainty to possess what they want. If you lack clarity and you’re not sure of what you want, then it’s better to fake clarity and confidence – by saying No as firmly as you can. And then try and reach clarity about this person later, without the extra pressure of having to make a decision in the moment.

  11. Miriam says:

    It ‘can be really difficult to say No clearly’ – especially when there is confusion. A woman in this position is not always clear what she wants. For a myriad reasons I’ve felt that confusion myself. So then my response, when it comes, does not convince, one way or the other. How can it? So can the man then be blamed if he persists? (Because he feels that maybe he can convince me through his confidence and passion.) If he becomes over-bearing and forces things then it can become a scenario for rape, and it suddenly becomes crystal clear that this is something I definitely do not want. One way, as I see it, to avoid this scenario, is to be clear about what I want and to say it firmly – and loudly if necessary. I think this poster gives good advice, in this respect. (I agree with Adina in theory – but we can’t rely on the law and ‘our rights’ to protect us in the moment). So anything short of a strong No appeals to the conditioning that Alan describes so well.

  12. Alan says:

    Men are socially conditioned to pursue women aggressively – to not give up too easily – to actually not accept no as an answer. Women are socially conditioned to silently and reluctantly submit. (Anything more than that might damage their reputations – to actually show that they enthusiastically desire a man might call into question their whole moral fibre!) Those are the socially accepted roles we’ve learned. The persistent aggression of the man and the reluctant submission of the woman, can be seen as the default position, or socially accepted norm. And it follows that reluctant submission, or silence, is to be taken as consent. Campaigns such as this perform a necessary role, to get people to question these attitudes.

  13. Adina says:

    But even if you do say “no” as if you’re sorry, or with a smile, or with a whisper it’s still a NO. It can be really difficult to say “no” clearly in different situations. I think this comes off a bit as victim blaming.

  14. Sophie says:

    ‘No name’ – you sound like you’ve been hurt – don’t get cynical, just make better choices about who you spend your time with.

  15. noname says:

    ‘No’ means nothing. You can say ‘No’ and it doesn’t matter. They don’t care.

  16. Dan says:

    Barbara: “don’t allow yourself to be bullied into changing your mind to please him.” Or to please HER! Great poster.

  17. Barbara says:

    Another bit of advice – don’t ever feel guilty about saying No. And don’t allow yourself to be bullied into changing your mind to please him.

  18. Sophie says:

    This is such a good poster. Too many girls send mixed messages and then wonder how they got into a dangerous situation. Being CLEAR about what you want will make your message of No stronger.

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