Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval. This letter was submitted by Nicole Towne, a junior journalism and media communications student.
When I first read about Aziz Ansari’s sexual assault scandal I was in the middle of listening to Ansari’s audiobook, “Modern Romance.” The first time I read about sexual assault was while googling to see if he was going on tour anytime soon. With someone as seemingly funny, talented and oddly charming (well not anymore) as Ansari, we are letting the, “but he’s such a nice guy,”catchphrase belittle the survivor’s bravery and experience.
I loved “Parks and Recreation” with the stunning Amy Poehler. Ansari played the cheeky “treat yo self” 20-something on the show. I had just recently gotten into Ansari’s Netflix original, “Master of None.”
So, when I read about the incident I was taken aback and disappointed.
I started researching about the incident. The case of sexual assault released on Babe.net outlined a known female, under the pseudonym of Grace, who had a concerning and upsetting personal encounter with Ansari.
Grace and Ansari were on a date in New York City, and after dinner they retreated to his classy Manhattan apartment.
According to babe.net, “Within moments, he was kissing her. ‘In a second, his hand was on my breast.’ Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.’
His actions increased in aggression. He followed her as she moved away from him.
“The move he kept doing was taking his two fingers in a V-shape and putting them in my mouth, in my throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he’d stick his fingers in my throat he’d go straight for my vagina and try to finger me,” Grace said in a Babe.net article.
The article continues on to discuss how Ansari continued pushing boundaries such as moving Grace’s hand towards his genitals, repeatedly asking her “where do you want me to f*** you” and attempting to take off her clothes a second time.
Ansari is in the wrong. He acted sexually aggressive towards a non-consenting individual. Never once in that whole exchange did he ask how Grace was doing, if she was okay with what was going on or even wanted it in the first place.
People cannot just jump into a sexual act without checking if their partner wants to partake. Just for a moment, let’s equate consent with borrowing a friend’s car. You just can’t assume that a friend will let you borrow their car. You have to ask, and if the friend says no, you have to accept it because the car isn’t yours in the first place.
A lot of talk has come up about Ansari not knowing, but that doesn’t change what he did. It’s not an excuse not to ask.
It’s surprising how quick people are to blame the victim, just because the perpetrator seems like a ‘nice guy.’ People will use any excuse to try to push the blame from the perpetrator to the victim just to save ourselves from disappointment. Victim blaming isn’t immune to people who call themselves feminists.
Bari Weiss of the New York Times article “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader,” falsely asserts that nudity is an invitation for sex.
“I am a proud feminist, and this is what I thought while reading the article: If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you,” Weiss wrote.
This is just another one of those “she was asking for it’ slurs. This statement tries to argue that when a woman is naked she gives up autonomy over her body.
It is true that Ansari is not a mind reader. He could have not known he was pushing the boundaries, but that is unlikely. That’s why consent is integral. It’s not just a silly precaution. Ansari could have could have prevented the whole ordeal by doing what any decent person should do while engaging in intimate behaviors—asking out loud if said acts are okay and waiting for a clear and enthusiastic response. Let’s not shame for Grace speaking out, instead let’s focus on what she is speaking up about.
In the end Ansari is able to walk away with his money. Unlike Grace, he doesn’t have to live with the worry of having his body be compromised for another’s pleasure.
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