Tickling or Torture: What It Teaches Us About Consent

By Alyssa Bluhm

I have a vivid memory of being tickled when I was about five years old. My dad and my uncle tickled me to the floor, sandwiching me between the wall and the dining room table. While my uncle tickled me, my dad pretended to pull Cheerios out of my bellybutton and strawberries out of my strawberry-blonde hair, slurping them up like a delicious bowl of cereal. That was one of my dad’s favorite jokes when I was young, and it’s still a fond memory. Mostly.

I also remember that, as the tickling continued, my laughter turned to tears of pain, that my ribs felt close to cracking with every gasping breath, that I felt cornered and helpless, and that nothing I did would get them to stop.

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If you have to tell yourself something isn’t “that bad,” then it really is worse than you think

By Catcall Contributor

I couldn’t help it; I fell in love.

And when I fell in love, there was a part of me that became him. I didn’t think of it as a bad thing, after all if I’m spending all my time with someone and talking to them every day, it would be hard not to mesh into a single being, to some extent. He was older, successful, and absolutely beautiful. He always said he hated being the center of attention, but I think he knew that’s where he thrived. He was a natural born leader and made everyone look up to him with the highest regards. He truly seemed like a great man.

But things aren’t always what they seem. I got to know him better and he told me about his troubled past full of being adopted, bullied, anger management classes, manipulative relationships, and lies. He told me that he would never do anything to hurt me because he knew what it was like to be hurtbut then the lies started.

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