The alleged sexual assault by comedian Aziz Ansari has brought the debate between sexual consent and forced behavior in the public eye, again. It began through an anonymous interview on a news website called Babe by a 23-year-old photographer.

The woman in question gave details about her sexual encounter with the celebrity and how her date night turned into a nightmare. Grace’s (a name given to protect her identity) account recalls how the moment of dissent began right from the moment when white wine, instead of her preferred red wine was poured into her glass. The night ended after she was allegedly pressured to have sex with him and she left later, feeling violated.

How Ansari And Grace Defend Themselves:

Ansari responded to these claims by saying that he was saddened to hear it and he did not realize her discomfort at that point in time. He stressed that according to him the act was completely consensual.

Was it then simply a case of bad sex, read misleadingly as forced behaviour?

Grace, however, says she felt pressured and her indications to a refusal were constantly ignored. It would seem that her subtle negations, both verbal and non-verbal were chosen to be looked over. And as she was already in his apartment after a date, it would be easy to gloss over the incident as consensual.

The Thin Line Between Sex And Violence: 

The problem arises in our, and most importantly men’s failure to realize the subtle separation between consent and violence. Her “no” may be as subtle as not responding to his kiss or as vehement as her leaving the place immediately.

Grace’s distress at Ansari’s behavior manifested in non-verbal cues like her lips and hands refraining from any movement. Indications like these are not difficult to be interpreted as a disagreement.

Any social encounter calls for these etiquettes. When we wish to avoid a situation, we do not always blatantly say “no”. Many-a-times, we indicate it through our body language and cold expressions. For a man as socially active as Aziz Ansari, it would be child’s play to get these hints.

It’s Different For Men And Women

While a man’s consent is physically evident, even visible, a woman’s is not.

You may not realize a woman’s disinterest in hooking up with you if you don’t look closely enough! It’s as if the society believes that while a woman’s excitement is not a biological prerequisite for penetrative intercourse (however painful), a man’s is. If she is not wet enough, one can always make her so artificially! This is a biological fact taken advantage of continually. Her physical needs are not taken into consideration.

The problem here is that her libido is not acknowledged enough.

Grace blames Ansari for this very insensitivity. He was very obviously caught up in the moment to notice her signals, she says.

Related: A Quick Look At How Celebrity Sexual Harassment Got Exposed Internationally

Pseudo-Feminism Or Feminism:

Movements like #MeToo may suffer a backlash if women themselves blame other women for not acting in an ideal manner in a particular situation.

Grace has been blamed for not creating an uproar instead and quietly complying with Ansari’s physical advances such as him continually pointing towards his penis and urging her to go down on him, as she stated in the interview.

But this defeats the very purpose of the feminist movement. It is not a movement of educating women on how they ought to behave but on spreading awareness about what a woman is.

Much of the internet posts about the incident revolve around Ansari, given his celebrity status. Little has been reflected in the larger context of the continual ignorance of womanhood and her sexuality. Consent and communication are inseparable and its shortage would lead to violation of this sort.


Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: The New York Times, CNN, The Verge + more


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