I’m sure by this point you have all heard about the Aziz Ansari scandal that happened a few weeks ago and if you haven’t you can read about it here.
In short version the article lays out the details of a date that Aziz Ansari went on with a woman, in which they engaged in sexual acts in Ansari’s home, and according to the woman she felt violated but did not verbally tell him to stop or make the choice to leave but instead sent him a long detailed text the next morning telling him that she went home in tears. The woman then sent the details of the date and the text to some overrated millennial blog, no doubt owned or curated by one of the woman’s friends. The reason I am writing about it so far removed from the fact is because people around me seem to constantly be talking about this, at bars, on the subway, inside my favorite sushi restaurant, out with friends, and now it’s really stricken a nerve.
My first thought when reading this full article is that I felt bad for the woman and that I could relate; all of us (women) have been sexually assaulted at some point in our lives, and in the latter made to feel uncomfortable in a situation where we felt unable to use our voice. When I was sexually harassed at the age of 23 I found myself in a very scary situation and I did everything in my power to get the F*** out of the situation. So that leads me to ask, what constitutes as assault? Are we indeed responsible for the emotions of other humans that we decided to engage with? Is it assault if you put yourself back into harms way, if you don’t say no given the chance?
My second thought was, why? Why, if she felt so belittled, so disrespected and assaulted did she over and over again engage in activity and not remove herself? Not even say NO, STOP? I am not minimizing what happened to this girl, because during parts of the article I definitely felt the need vomit, but I also think that you can’t claim injustice and harassment within a situation that you subjected yourself to when given the chance to say no. Had she said no, and then something been forced upon her that would be considered rape. But simply feeling that she didn’t want to do certain things and then engaging in them anyway only speaks to her lack of communication and self awareness, humans are not mind readers. Just as you can’t expect your boyfriend to get you flowers on Valentines day unless you communicate clearly that you want flowers you cant expect someone to know that you want them to stop unless you say “STOP, NO, I am removing myself from this situation.”
I am NOT saying that a woman that goes to a man’s home deserve rape or assault, and I also think that people have the right to change their mind at any given point, it doesn’t matter if you are completely naked, you are allowed to change your mind. But as an adult, and an adult woman you have to know that if you drink and then go home with someone they might think you are going to have sex with them. I also do not think that shaming Aziz for the manner in which he has sex should be a reason to make him out as an assailant. Just as women don’t want to be slut shamed for liking sex as much as men do, or for showing cleavage etc, we shouldn’t be shaming someone for sticking their fingers down your throat, maybe that’s what turns them on. If Aziz believed he was engaging in sexual activity with someone who was having fun with him, he wouldn’t censor himself or the things he wanted just like any other human, but now that this woman has felt the need to put this out in the world, sexual acts have been turned into something taboo. The world is now shaming someone for being an obtrusive pervert instead of just being sexual which seems backwards and seasoned.
I am questioning this woman’s need to return to the situation that she was so uncomfortable in over and over when given the chance to leave, and also questioning her inability to say no.
Part of me indeed feels for this woman, and the other part of me wants to shake her. I do not believe that you can cry out in solidarity for a movement that takes down predators when a.) You did not say no, and b.) you partook in acts that would leave any normal human to believe you were sexually interested. I’m not a mind reader, you’re probably not a mind reader and I’m guessing Aziz is not either. Having that said, I still feel for this girl, but in part by exploiting this story I feel she’s done the #metoo movement some injustice. I’d say some personal soul searching and maybe some therapy on both of their parts would do them well but exploiting a date which large in part just circles the fact that she’s a poor communicator, and doesn’t have the balls to stick up for herself, and that he sucks at reading emotional and/or social cues really just waters down the core issues of the social movements happening around us in totality.
Regardless of the wrong and right within the story, mostly I hope this: that something was learned, and therefor something was gained. The part of the article that I noted most was that Aziz felt remorse, apologized and hopefully he will move on from this more mature, more socially aware, perhaps a little scared and also enlightened. Maybe more understanding as to how women think, and feel.
In general, I think humans need to be more aware of one another and not in such a rush for immediate satisfaction be it sex, or forwarding one's life details to the internet.