Aziz Ansari, Sexual Harassment and 3 Things Women Need to Know
Recently, a woman under the pseudonym "Grace" published her uncomfortable date story with Aziz Ansari. She reported that in spite of her "verbal and non verbal clues", Ansari continued to pursue her in a sexual manner including a weird V shaped finger move and consistently pawing at her. When Grace was taking an Uber home, she texted her friends that "she hated men" and relayed her horrible experience to her friends.
When I first came across this blog, my first thought was "Oh no! Not Tom Haverford!". When we see celebrities we often think they are our beloved characters from television/film in real life. We forget that these people have their own lives and personalities that are separate from the characters. Which means when we review these cases, we need to approach them with as much objectivity as possible. Him being a beloved character doesn't help shape my thought process as for some reason I totally believe that he may have a little creep factor in him.
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In reading Grace's story, I have so many questions regarding her situation. My biggest was, why didn't she leave? I think that is most people's thought process who have read her case. She said she was just in shock at what was going on. She couldn't believe that Aziz Ansari would be this type of guy. Over the course of the night she felt he wouldn't allow her to go and in the end, called it sexual assault.
That is a big word to use and shouldn't be taken lightly. In reading her story it just seemed as though Ansari wanted to get laid, felt like he had the green light to get laid (she did perform oral sex on him), but she wasn't attracted him, which led to her really regretting it. My issue with using the phrase "sexual assault" is that it may not truly be sexual assault, it's more like people misread the room and there was a lack of communication but I understand where she's coming from.
There are times when people are in situations and feel compelled to do things because of an unspoken atmosphere. You go with the flow as not to seem like you are a Debbie Downer, you want to see how far it will go due to pure curiosity, or disbelief as she states. Sometimes you aren't sure how a situation got so far away from you, especially if you had no intentions of it going that far. When it does cross that line you tend to feel regret, dirtiness, and completely turned off from said guy. You may start to think "I can't see how he didn't read the room? How did he not understand that I wasn't into it? How could he keep moving forward sexually when I'm not doing nearly the things I would do, if I was interested in him?"
You start to feel a bit schitty and dirty because this guy that you weren't attracted to overstepped his boundaries in a big way. But what stops this from being a sexual assault in my opinion is that there was never a strong "No" or a strong "I do not want to do this because..." She appeared to be with it, especially when she went along with his awkward sexual advances. Let me say this, I am all about women's rights. If a woman doesn't want to touched, she shouldn't be touched, plan and simple. Your body belongs to you but this situation reminds me of some tips that we should keep in mind when dating. Dating can be a fun and at times odd experience, but it should never be a degrading or destructive moment.
Many men aren't in tune with women's emotions
She expected this guy who barely knows her to be able to read her mind. There have been husbands married for years and still can't guess their wives thoughts. She hoped by not saying something directly he would be magically in tune with her emotions and just understand that she didn't want to go that route. This is something that I feel we need to take away from this post "Most men can't read a woman's feelings." All they know is that something is off. They don't know what it is. It could be you have a cramp, you could be tired, or hell you could just have resting bitch attitude. They don't know. When their little heads become full of blood, they become even less awaree of situational cues. Most guys are going off of previous experiences. Maybe They had a woman who acted like this and she was genuinely interested in him. He may have interpreted it as she is new to this, intimidated, or she's playing hard to get. That is why communication is key on our part.
Say "No" sternly and mean it
One of the phrases that stood out to me was that she said that Ansari did not heed her "verbal and non verbal cues". Verbal cues are things like "hey we are moving a bit fast aren't we?" or "Man this is a lot for me." I agree that you should interpret this as a "slow down" move, but people don't think like you. Sure if the shoe was on the other foot, you may interpret that as a hard stop, but this isn't you. This is some horny guy who wants to try everything in the book to get laid. If you aren't interested, say "No" and mean it. Don't say no coyly and then go back to participating in the same activities that make you feel uncomfortable. Say "no" and confirm that you aren't interested. If he still tries to push his will upon you, that's when you bring out the big guns.
Get your schit and go!
At this point you know what is going on. He wants something and you aren't interested in giving it to him. If you say no, and he's still trying to put the moves on you, get up and leave. I've been in a situation where a guy told me all he wanted to do is cook me dinner. I went over there truly believing that he just wanted to cook me dinner. We sat and ate a mediocre dinner which later led to him trying to put the moves on me. I was giving off those signs (at least in my head) that I wasn't interested in him but he wasn't picking up on them. He became handsy and I told him I just wanted to just watch the movie and chill. He appeared to understand, but several minutes later he was back at it, thinking I was playing hard to get. That's when I had that mental conversation with myself "Champ, this ninja is on something that you aren't interested in doing. He's trying to run game and hoping you will bend. There is truly no point in you being here because he wants what he wants and it doesn't appear that this will change." I told him thank you for dinner and I left. I never called him again and never interacted with him.
We have to be cautious on what we call assault as this can become a slippery slope when addressing relations with the opposite sex. Of course there are major infractions that we obviously can call assault, but now we are getting to a granular level of what may be deemed as assault to others, can also be seen as miscommunication to some. However the line of sexual assault is at times thin. We may not be able to categorize every instance of assault but what we can do is learn how to navigate those situations so that we can walk away with our dignity. I do agree that Ansari was probably thirsty, but I hesitate at calling it a true assault because he could easily interpret her actions as welcoming.
Be smart in your interactions and never hesitate to walk away from a situation. What is for you is for you and you should never worry about burning bridges when it comes to your mental and sexual health.