You may have seen the video “Not Asking For It” on your Facebook newsfeed recently. At a time when there’s a lot of discourse on campus surrounding sexual assault and rape culture, this video encourages people to think about what people mean when they say, “They were asking for it.” The video points out that neither clothes nor dancing are invitations for sexual advances. I sat down with Sally Rappaport ’17 who created the video and we talked about why she made the short film and what the reactions to it have been. Check out her movie, and check out the interview below the jump.
Hi so you’re Sally and you are a…
I’m a freshman. I’m from New York City.
And are you a film major?
I’m not a film major… Biggest shout out to Jesse Allain-Marcus ’17. He’s going to be a film major. This was my idea and he just really helped me make it true. He helped me time them with the music. He just gets the biggest shout out ever.
What do you mean when you say “Not asking for it?”
When I mean “not asking for it,” it’s not “not asking for sex” but it’s asking “not to be called a name” or “not to be groped.” You’re asking to not have those hands on your body without asking.
So, what was the impetus for “Not Asking For It?”
So basically all the sexual assault stuff on campus is the impetus. It’s on the forefront at most college campuses. I thought this would be a good time to put the video out and I decided to use Facebook because it’s a good place to watch a video. And you don’t have to read a long article. [The content comes] from personal experience or from my friends’ experiences… a lot of things have happened and the justification has often been “oh well you were wearing this or dancing this way” and I just want to stop the victim blaming. My dream, which is what is happening now, is that it gets picked up by other schools, because it’s simple to make.
Were there any surprises during production?
There weren’t that many surprises—everyone was very supportive and it was great to get emails saying “this inspired me.” This issue is not specific to one community or anything. This is a way to present it as an issue that everyone could work together to stop. A lot of people have given me positive feedback, although obviously this project is a lot bigger than me.
Has there been any criticism?
Yes, well some people say it doesn’t promote the importance of consent, but I think it’s implicit in the fact that silence is not consent, that you still need to ask. But in the future, I would love to do things that concentrate more on enthusiastic consent.
Do you have a favorite shot in the movie
Um, I’m thinking. There are two—I think all of them are great, but—someone wore a shirt with a an open back, and when you’re dancing from behind some people think an open back shirt is an open invitation, which it isn’t.
But all of the people who participated were really brave.
Any last words.
The last thing would just be is that all the schools who have posted, like Georgetown, all have their own style, which is awesome. It’s great to see everyone with their own take on it.