Justice

Victoria's Secret Model Just Gave Powerful Advice About Consent and Sexting

As a Victoria's Secret model who's been placed in a lot personally uncomfortable situations in the industry, Leomie Anderson knows a thing or two about giving consent. And now she wants to pass on that advice to young women.

On Sunday, the model posted a heartfelt letter to her fans on her website about the importance of consent and saying "no." Anderson said she wanted to empower women to use their voice, since many women often feel pressure to gratify men sexually through sexting.

"I can’t tell you not to do what you want but I can tell you that some girls I know say their biggest regret in school was sharing an intimate picture or getting into a scenario where a video had or could have been leaked so I just want you all to know that you do have the option to say NO. I want you to know that if he/ she doesn’t want to accept your ‘no’ then he/she doesn’t respect you or your voice, so why should they be entitled to your body in any way, shape, form or snapchat?"

Sexting is a common practice among many teenagers. Fifty-four percent of teens sext before they turn 18, and more than half of teenage girls feel pressure to send boys explicit sexual photos of themselves, according to a study reported by the Independent. Most states do not have laws that govern sexting so minors who send sexually explicit or nude photos to each other can be charged under child pornography laws, according to TIME.

Anderson wanted to remind women that they do have a right to speak up when they're uncomfortable, and that they should not be afraid to invoke the right to say "no."

"Saying NO doesn’t make you scared or frigid, it makes you smart and mature- you never want someone to be able to hold something against you or expose you. So please, all my young girls reading this, know that you don’t have to do anything that you aren’t fully comfortable with and that your NO means something."

Although Anderson's letter touched on the power of saying "no," many are moving toward a move proactive form of consent.

As Think Progress' Tara Culp-Ressler points out, "the current societal script on sex assumes that passivity and silence — essentially, the lack of a 'no' — means it's okay to proceed," which places a lot of the burden on the victim. But under affirmative consent, partners are required to secure a clear and consensual "yes" from each other before they engage in any sexual activity.

Because of the high number of sexual assault cases on college campuses, several states have passed affirmative consent laws.