Opinion: No, this wasn’t an awkward date: The case against Aziz Ansari.

Topics of consent and safety are important to address in the current #MeToo movement.


Illustration courtesy of Dan Bartholomew

Sophie Siegel, Contributing Writer

“Modern Romance,” written by Aziz Ansari, changed my life.


He was called a “certified woke bae” because of his enlightened views on feminism, racism, and our current social climate. Ansari wore black to the Golden Globes for the sake of #MeToo in accordance of being a vocal supporter of the movement.


But he was recently accused of sexual assault by a woman under the alias of “Grace.” She went on a date with Ansari and claimed he seemed, “eager,” to leave. Soon after, they ended up back at his apartment where things became sexual.


I consider her story to be assault.


I saw people sharing Grace’s story on their Facebook timelines, saying, “It’s just an awkward date,” or “Well, she never said no,” which mirrors the dangerous rape culture term, “She was asking for it.”


This story angered me. I want people to understand that assault isn’t just forced sex, but is any time that consent is not granted during sexual encounters.


At first, the incident consisted of him kissing her and touching her breasts, according to the victim’s retelling of the event. She asked him to, “chill out a sec,” and they both then performed oral sex on each other after a few minutes. This encounter lasted 10 minutes.


Something to note on all of the incidents that occurred was Ansari would, “not let her move away from him,” even as she began to move her hand away.


That’s a nonverbal cue of not being comfortable. If she left her hand there that’d be different — but she didn’t.


Grace said she used, “verbal and non verbal cues,” to get him to stop doing certain things. She even felt, “cold,” and froze up, most likely from feeling uneasy.


Ansari then asked her to have sex to which she replied, “Next time.” This prompted him to ask, “Well, if I poured you another glass of wine now, would it count as our second date?”


I cringed when I read that, as this goes against the grounds of consent.


Grace told him she wasn’t sure if she wanted to have sex as she felt forced and she, “didn’t want to hate him.” She thought Ansari understood, but he had her perform oral sex on him again because she felt pressured, as she claimed in her statement.


This led to Ansari taking Grace to his bedroom and asking her, “Where do you want me to fuck you? Do you want me to fuck you right here?” (while mimicking the act of intercourse), according to the woman’s account. She said no, he stopped, and they stopped. After a night of him not understanding cues, she said she felt, “violated.”


Grace said, “All you guys are the same,” after this encounter happened. When she left, he, “forcefully,” kissed her. Grace said this made her feel emotional and violated. She left in an Uber that night in tears.


This was so much more than an, “awkward date,” as Grace never gave proper consent.


Consent is never assumed, according to the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Center. Consent is checking in on your partner during sexual activities. In an opinion piece from the New York Times, the author discusses how women should use more verbal cues to suggest consent as that’s her job.


I disagree, as that is the responsibility of both parties — and that counts as victim blaming. Communication should never be one-sided, this goes back to victim blaming.


Ansari assumed consent. Ansari never asked if Grace was fine with it, she had to give her own cues. He assumed, and that goes directly against the requirements of consent.


In the allegation statement, Grace talks about freezing up due to being uncomfortable during this sexual encounter. “Freezing,” is a common response to fear or panic, according to VICE.


This goes back to various other, “gray area,” accounts of assault, according to Nylon. Al Franken never raped anyone, but he groped a woman without her consent. And Louis C.K. masturbated in front of various women.


Ansari kept pressuring someone. People often compare these to, “bigger,” issues such as the Roy Moore allegations within the #MeToo movement.


There are no “big” or “small” issues regarding sexual assault, as we need to carry them with similar gravities. It takes a lot for victims of sexual assault to come forward.


While they are all different circumstances, they can all fall under rape culture, which can be anything from victim blaming in sexual assault allegations to trivializing an allegation to forced sexual acts.


This allegation set an important precedent as we do need more conversations on consent. I think now, more than ever, we need to have these difficult conversations.


Sexual encounters should never be one sided and sexual encounters should never pressure anyone.


In Ansari’s statement, he said he wanted to, “continue to help the [#MeToo] movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.” I believe, as a woman, that I don’t want his hands anywhere near this movement. I felt he took a voice away from a woman during a sexual encounter and this discredits him as an ally.


Aziz: I wish you didn’t wear black to the Golden Globes, as I do not believe you support women in light of what you did to Grace. You cannot call yourself a feminist, as feminists and decent human beings believe in and practice consent.


I wish you practiced what you preach. As a former fan, I am disappointed, angry, and upset.


Many women and men I know have had a million Ansari’s enter their lives. In this current social climate, we need to keep the momentum going to help give survivors a voice and lift them up instead of invalidating their experiences.


This is more than, “Boys being boys.” It is, “Hold boys accountable for their actions.”




National Sexual Assault Hotline

  • Call 1-800-656-4673
  • Available 24/7

Women Organized Against Rape

  • Provides resources for oppressed communities
  • Hotline: 215-985-3333
  • Available 24/7

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

  • Provides education, resources, and research on sexual assault


Sophie Siegel is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].