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No Means No Always | Self-Initiated Collaboration

Consent: Permission for something to happen, or agreement to do something.

In 2019 I went to Porto for a few days. On the first day, I saw a girl on the street with a tattoo on her right thigh that said: NO; and on her left thigh that said: STILL NO. I was struck by the tattoo, and by the time I tried to take a picture, she was already gone. I have thought about that young woman often, and how I personally interpreted the message.

I don’t know you girl but I like you a lot, and this is my homage to you and your tattoo as accurate as I can remember it.

A soft, loud, girly, manly, friendly, harsh, polite, rude, smiley, bossy, apologetic, angry, fearful, determined NO means NO, always.

Thanks to Wanissa and Ceci for your support and contributions below.


Thanks to Wanissa Somsuphangsri for her support and contribution to this project, who wrote the following:

“Just go out with me once. It’s not like I’m going to rape you.” is what the guy who asked me out said when I turned him down for the fourth time.

I was 23 then, and much less vocal than I am now. Being assertive doesn’t come naturally to me. Looking back, I’ve accepted situations I didn’t want to be in, taken on favours I couldn’t afford, stayed in relationships I should have ended, all because I couldn’t say no or because I was afraid of upsetting other people. This is still ongoing work for me, but as the years go by, I’m feeling less guilty for putting myself first.

Thank you Maria Montes getting me to reflect on the importance of saying no.

When a woman says no, whether it’s quietly or loudly, once is enough for her to be heard. No explanations and no apologies are needed.


Thanks to Cecilia del Castillo for her support and contribution to this project, who wrote the following:

“A man once told me that women shouldn’t flirt so openly with a man because it leads to being raped. And if that happened it was basically our fault. The incredible thing is that he told me this as if to “teach me” how to behave, so that this would not happen to me, and to justify jealousy. For a long time I was ashamed to even repeat his words.

It shocks me, and it makes me fucking angry to think that every woman has a story like this to tell.

Absolutely nothing you do as a woman justifies abuse.

Thank you Maria Montes for inviting me to reflect on this, and thanks to Wanissa Somsuphangsri for sharing your experience, it gave me the courage to share mine.