University Press

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
Illustration courtesy of Dan Bartholomew

Illustration courtesy of Dan Bartholomew

Illustration courtesy of Dan Bartholomew

Sophie Siegel, Contributing Writer

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“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.”

Resources:

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].

About the Writer
Sophie Siegel, Staff Writer
Sophie Siegel is a senior political science major who previously served as a contributing writer. She has previously freelanced for local Palm Beach publications. After graduation, she hopes to report on politics. In her spare time, she likes watching cult classics.
11 Comments

11 Responses to “Opinion: No, this wasn’t an awkward date: The case against Aziz Ansari.”

  1. JS_Canada on March 3rd, 2018 3:43 pm

    You said it, communication requires both parties, and therefore they should share the blame, not all the blame on Ansari.

    You cannot call it assault because he did not use force or threats. She willingly participated. When she did say lets chill, lets slow down, that implies that she did not want to rush into intercourse, not stop altogether. Yes, that was a clear sign that she wasn’t interested. But what does she do next, she goes to the couch naked. In her mind, she thought that he would see this as non-verbal cue to play with her hair? In what world? Any reasonable person would take this as a cue that they had consent to continuing foreplay, which they did with her giving him oral sex the second time. When she did finally say no, he called her an Uber.

    You state that women often freeze under such circumstances, that may happen, but you cannot use that argument here. She clearly was not afraid to say no to intercourse, so it is simply not credible that she would be afraid to say no to foreplay. Something about her account is not right. It is more likely she was conflicted with salvaging a relationship with a celebrity but not wanting intercourse, and gave mixed signals as a result. Sure Aziz deserves some scorn, but so does she.

  2. Alejandro on March 4th, 2018 2:33 am

    STFU! The case “angered” you?? You are not being objective at all. As a matter of fact I believe you are just a virgin in writing this shitpost behind a computer in your parent’s basement.

  3. Cait on March 4th, 2018 5:33 am

    Beautifully written! Thank you!

  4. Nick Holden on March 4th, 2018 11:12 am

    My question to this is why has this been published now? I appreciate and agree that this conversation should be had but why is it being published nearly two months after it broke and not providing any new information.

  5. Johann M on March 5th, 2018 7:07 am

    I disagree with your POV. Does “freezing” involve performing oral sex twice?

    We as a society must stop coddling women. A woman who willing goes to the home of man on the first date is a woman who is looking to get down. Such a woman is not a proper woman. You reap what you sow. Thank you.

  6. John David on March 5th, 2018 12:25 pm

    Well it’s a great thing this author is not in any position of any importance. The comments to all of these articles about this all over the web agree that calling this shitty date “assault” is beyond ridiculous. Women are not the meek, delicate flowers these so called “feminists” want them to be; they have agency which allows them to make choices they can regret, just like men.

  7. Lia Lowell on March 5th, 2018 3:16 pm

    This is an entitled, poor little me attack on a guy who transparently wanted to have sex with a woman he flirted with – there is nothing in this story that seems inappropriate on his end. when she quickly realized they so obviously had different expectations for the evening she should have said no and left. there was no reason for her to have to stay, and the victimhood role is of her own making. women have power. she did not exercise hers by simply leaving, and instead of feeling bad about her own weakness, she shames him in the public square. “Grace” has done damage to the important #MeToo movement.

  8. JS_Canada on March 9th, 2018 5:35 pm

    Lia, I think your comment best articulates the truth on this. I agree that this has damaged #MeToo movement. Since this, the credible allegations against Seacrest were virtually ignored by the general public aside from a few red carpet snubs (the vocal critics were not as numerous as they were for Aziz). People now treat credible allegations with much more skepticism as a result. This is what happens when we conflate personal regret with sexual harassment, we end up weakening the meaning of sexual harassment and the accused in these matters get cover. Yes indeed, a lot of damage was done as a result of this story.

    If Grace had kept his name anonymous, she could have said it was a Hollywood A-lister, she could start the conversation about better sex. She could have texted him to tell him that the article was about him to put the fear of God into him if she was interested in him changing. No, she wanted revenge using the nuclear option. However, her personal need for vengeance was selfish and damaging to the movement that was bigger than her…she tried to hijack the movement, and the twitter extremists joined her, unwittingly causing harm to the movements intent.

  9. Sophie on March 9th, 2018 8:00 pm

    I guarantee that if you dropped Sophie in the wrong part of town (the part that she would call “sketch”) she would feel uneasy being surrounded by disadvantaged minorities. Sophie reminds me of the “Get Out” kind of racist. The kind of person that would feel “uncomfortable” around black and Hispanic men, yet will rail against the “patriarchy.” Oh the irony of the racist white feminist…

  10. Anonymous on March 31st, 2018 3:27 pm

    Wow all these other comments are insensitive and dense, and contribute to the rape culture we have. Hence why your article is so necessary Sophia. I don’t have energy to argue with ignornace in these comments. I hope people start becoming attuned and sensitive to one another and in due time understand the message and lesson of this assault case, which happens so often in dating unfortunately.

  11. Asiya on April 1st, 2018 9:53 pm

    I think this was the beginning of the end of the #metoo movement. How can you even put him in the same category as Harvey Weinstein? I’m an adult and would use my words to say no if I found my “ nonverbal cues” to be unreliable.

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