Hello, everyone! My name is Sarah Haack, and I am part of the new crop of bloggers here at Where Is Your Line?
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, I now attend American University in Washington, DC (along with the fabulous Carmen Rios, fellow Vagina Monologues cast member and she-ro) as an Environmental Studies major. I will be studying Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden next year, but in the meantime, I am living in New York City, interning with the Girl Scouts of the USA, and learning the finer points of navigating bureaucracy, planning potlucks, and empowering women and girls.
I toured AU during the April of my senior year in high school, taking in the campus one last time before sending in my acceptance letter, and vividly remember the painted t-shirts strung throughout the student center in preparation for Take Back the Night, part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. One statistic struck me in particular: that one in three women are sexually assaulted. Still in high school and rather naive, this number resonated as tragic, but hollow, sympathetic but not empathetic. Two years later, I found myself standing on the before those t-shirts as a survivor. It is selfish, I admit, to not really take up a cause until it affects oneself directly, but when I was puff-painting my own statistic on that white v-neck after a realization that took a full year, I finally understood the impact of today’s hookup culture and its implications, and how important it is to open the lines of communication not just about sexual assault, but about sex itself. The perceived “gray area” of sexual assault needs to be eliminated, and replaced with standards where a YES! is just as important as a no.
I was drawn to Where Is Your Line? by its sex-positive attitude and celebration of sexuality. Consent is more than knowing when to say no, but also knowing you can say yes; it’s feeling safe enough to enjoy sex that meets your standards, whether it be with a long-term partner or a total stranger, and being strong enough to draw a line that is either non-negotiable or ever-changing. The pervasive rape culture in which we find ourselves dictates that our demeanor, our alcohol consumption, and even our outfits, are all indicators of our willingness to be sexual- and can be interpreted as such without any discussion. And yes, my miniskirt and five-inch heels are an expression of my sexuality, but that does not (necessarily) mean I want to share that with you. Believe me, if I did, you’d know it. I’d tell you. Just ask.