In Response to the Song “NO” by Meghan Trainor

“All my ladies, listen up
If that boy ain’t giving up
Lick your lips and swing your hips
Girl, all you gotta say is…

My name is “No”
My sign is “No”
My number is “No”
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
“Nah” to the “Ah” to the “No”, “No”, “No””

Meghan Trainor’s song, “No,” was released in 2016, and, since I avoid pop music, I didn’t stumble upon it until only a few weeks ago. As the artist explains, “No” is a female anthem with a message of empowerment for women. However, although the message of “No” is important, the lyrics are infuriating as a sexual assault survivor. In the song, “No,” Meghan Trainor explains that women simply need to say “no” in order to terminate an interaction, action, etc., which is to say that sexual assault survivors simply needed to say “no” in order to prevent their attacks (a horrible inaccuracy promoted by rape culture). The devastating truth that so many people come to discover is that “no” is only sometimes interpreted as “no” by only some people. Further, “no” is often perceived as “yes,” “convince me,” etc. With that being said, “no” is often not enough to cause termination. 

 

When I told my first rapist “no,” when he wanted to have sex with me, he interpreted my statement as “convince me,” and eventually raped me when I continued to deny his advances.

And then, when I said, “no,” to my second rapist when he wanted to have sex with me, he said, “what do you mean ‘no?’ You can’t say no. You have been flirting with me all night,” and then he raped me. 

 

You’re right, Meghan Trainor, I SHOULD HAVE JUST SAID ‘NO.’

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6 thoughts on “In Response to the Song “NO” by Meghan Trainor

  1. I thought I was the only person thinking about that song like this. Thank you for writing this. I can already imagine the responses if I would say it out loud in the world to people who haven’t been raped and aren’t empathic enough (such as the people who are paid to help me with it) “you’re just too sensitive”, “you have to make everything about you”, “too negative”etc. But now I know I’m not the only one who thinks like this about this song.

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    1. Of course–I’m glad that I’m not the only person that feels this way!

      Yes! Especially those that make comments such as, “you should have just said no” (or something to that effect) and “you could have prevented [your experience].” I understand that sexual assault and related experiences are hard to understand if one has not experienced them personally, but there is never an excuse for inappropriate comments such as those and others of that nature. With that being said, I’m sorry that you have been subjected to such inappropriate comments.

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  2. As a mother of a sexual assault victim and survivor who was raped twice. I have never thought there was anything she could have done to avoid being raped. I have never thought of this catchy little song this way but what an eye opener your post has been for me in reference to it. I feel so strongly that there is such limited education of rape and what rape is. I have known many of my daughter’s male friends who have been raped by women. Statutory. All the same rape. 17 year old boys and 20+ year old women. And yet these women walk away unscathed by it and when these boys can’t take it anymore and walk away they are somehow the bad guys. This is not how it works. There needs to be more open public education about rape. And it’s permanent effects. I was not raped but because my daughter was I suffer depression anxiety PTSD and so much guilt and self blame for it. Why didn’t I do more to protect her… mentality.

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    1. I agree entirely, as sexual assault is far too devastating and prevalent for there to be such a lack of education on the subject. It would be very controversial, but we should actually be implementing this (mandatory) education in middle schools and high schools. It may seem as though middle school and/or high school is too early to implement this education, but it’s not. We live in a rape culture that does not discriminate based on age. And, as sad as it is, if we don’t mandate education on sexual assault, society will not pursue it.

      I am so sorry that you live with survivor’s guilt. I lived with it for about seven years. My healing came when my loved one healed from her sexual assault. Stay strong. Healing will come.

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      1. That’s so young. My heart goes out to her. I was also in 8th grade when I was initially targeted. Strangely enough, age serves as a protective factor for developing psychopathology (i.e. PTSD). The younger the child is, the more resilient they will be to adversity and trauma.

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