"I did not like it, but what could I do?" When I read those words from Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso in the immediate aftermath of her experience with Luis Rubiales, the feeling of resignation – of grim acceptance – really struck me.

I’m not going to focus on the act itself or the legality of the situation, I’m acutely aware it is ongoing and enough has been said already. I would, however, like to touch on the way society reacts when someone does speak up about this kind of situation, and the ways in which this reaction can exacerbate an already difficult experience.

I’ve heard many people offering excuses for what happened, many of the tropes we’ve sadly become used to. “They were overcome by emotion, they were overjoyed and excited, they didn’t do anything wrong and even if they did, they certainly didn’t mean to cause upset or pain.”

Even if we are to assume this is true, that no offence or discomfort was intended, it’s important to remember intention does not negate impact. Rubiales apologised for grabbing his crotch in the presence of the 16-year-old Princess of Spain and her mother, the Queen, giving the “euphoria” of celebration as an excuse, while blaming the “scourge of false feminism” for the reaction the kiss has received.

It seems that the lesson proposed here is that strong emotions allow a person to circumvent the need for decorum, but I would argue that if a person is unable to conduct themselves appropriately and professionally while experiencing strong emotions, a football pitch is probably not the ideal place for them.

Ironically, amid claims by many that Ms Hermoso was “overreacting” to the situation by relaying her discomfort, Rubiales said of the response to his behaviour: “A social murder is being carried out. They are trying to kill me”. While Rubiales’ mother went on a hunger strike in defence of her son and was later taken to hospital as a result, his uncle said: “I think he is a boy... I believe that this boy needs a program of social re-education and re-education in his relationship with women.” I can’t help but wonder at what age this 46-year-old will finally be considered a man.

A caller on LBC radio was asked how she felt about the situation, and I feel compelled to share her response in full. "What a great looking guy he is,” she said, “I thought it was going to be some old guy, about 70 (not that I'm saying that would be right or wrong), but he was a great looking guy and I'll tell you something, there's a lot of girls out there that I know would love him to give them a smacker on the lips.

“I think they want to be in a man's world, they want to play football, where it's all about Me Too. The world's gone mad. A guy like that gives you the quickest kiss I've ever seen, and I'm thinking if he'd kissed me I wish he would've held on longer".

This undermining and invalidation of Jeni’s experience is indicative of internalised misogyny, which is unfortunately all too common when women are open about situations which are uncomfortable, or even traumatic.

Unfortunately, there’s a relevant and recent example which can be drawn from the reality TV show Below Deck Down Under. After Margot Sisson confided in her colleague, Laura Bileskalne, that one of the other crew members, Luke, had exhibited inappropriate behaviour towards her and was fired as a result of his own actions, Laura replied, “Aw, poor Luke. I should have just kept him happy. If he comes naked in my cabin, I’d be like, ‘Hello! Yes!’”, continuing to say, “We all feel bad, but he feels the worst right now.”

Again, this invalidates the victim and prioritises the feelings of the perpetrator, implicitly blaming the victim for coming forward about her experiences. Laura was later fired for both her comments towards Margo, and for additional inappropriate behaviour she exhibited towards another crew member on board the ship.

We often see a similar level of flippancy when female perpetrators of abuse or sexual assault are perceived as attractive, commonly when the abuse is of boys and men, and as such the victims and survivors of such actions are met, not with compassion and understanding, but with invalidation and ridicule.

There are a few common misconceptions at play here: that people deemed attractive are permitted to act inappropriately and given more leniency when they do, because who wouldn't want a touch, kiss or sexual act from them? To imply that someone should feel grateful, or put up with unwanted advances because of the appearance of the person doing it is not only invalidating, but it sets a dangerous precedent which ignores that a violation of boundaries does not come about due to a lack of attraction, but a lack of consent.

The attitude that men are inherently sexual beings is used both to excuse male perpetrators and invalidate male survivors. The notion that men should feel gratitude whenever they are presented with the possibility of sex precludes many male survivors of sexual assault from coming forward and having their stories heard.

There is also a prevailing misconception that men cannot be raped, something which is unfortunately backed up by the law in many countries. Regardless of the gender of the survivor or the perpetrator, we must listen to and acknowledge victims and survivors when they come forward. Many survivors choose not to report their experiences, because they do not feel safe or empowered to do so. This does not make them any less valid, and is no surprise considering the kind of invalidation and harassment so callously handed out. The court system can be traumatic for survivors of abuse and sexual assault, and many people choose instead to stay silent rather than risk additional retraumatisation or further repercussions.

There is no way to prepare yourself for unwanted hands, lips, a touch or kiss on your body, and as we see every time this kind of interaction happens in the public eye, there is no “right” way to respond in the moment. Physically recoiling or making your discomfort obvious will see you labelled ungrateful or a poor sport, laughing it off or freezing will be seen as being permissive, encouraging, complicit.

We scrutinise reactions and excuse the actions necessitating them, to avoid making a scene we never auditioned for. It doesn't matter how many cameras there are, how big an audience watches, how established in her career or how proud everyone is of her achievements, she is the problem.

Women's football constantly inspires and teaches us all, particularly young women, that they can and should pursue their sporting dreams. The way this situation is handled might now also teach them they have a right to bodily autonomy, and to be believed and supported if this right is breached. One day, hopefully the only kisses footballers have to focus on while at work are the kind placed on a trophy.