There has been a lot of talk about sexual misconduct in Hollywood lately. Over the past few months, dozens of big names have been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is important to talk about it. Not everyone agrees with one another 100 percent of the time. But we will continue talking, because having a conversation is one of the ways we eventually learn.
One of our biggest platforms for these kinds of conversations is Twitter. With trending topics #TimesUp and #MeToo, Twitter has been especially talkative lately. When news broke on Saturday, January 13th that Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual assault, the conversations started up again, and the Twitterverse was quickly at odds.
An anonymous woman, who chose to go by “Grace,” described a date gone wrong with Ansari for Babe. Grace said that Ansari made advances on her multiple times in many different ways, ignoring her requests to take it slow. He kissed her, groped her, and pressured her for sex over and over as she continued to give verbal and non-verbal cues that she was uncomfortable. Eventually, she found the courage to leave.
Aziz Ansari being accused of sexual assault may come as a surprise to a lot of people, given his deep exploration of the comedy in love and his continual showing of support for women, including honoring the Women’s March when he hosted SNL in January of 2017. Ansari presents himself as a feminist. It hurts to think that he made a woman feel so completely violated and uncomfortable.
Twitter has a lot to say about the Aziz Ansari sexual assault story.
Noel Wells, Ansari’s Master of None co-star, weighed in with a smart interpretation of how men need to change and take responsibility for their actions. Though she doesn’t name Ansari, it’s clear she’s referring to him.
There are plenty of people who think Aziz Ansari’s name should remain clean.
These people believe this situation is being blown out of proportion.
Though many people are defending Ansari, citing that the victim should have “just left” or “not given him oral sex,” some people are helping to spell it why it’s still wrong.
Many women have been on dates exactly like this. And as Jensen expresses below, “coercion is not consent.”
The realization that a man doesn’t care if you are present, interested, or willing is something no one should experience.
Writer Jessica Valenti expressed exactly why Ansari’s behavior needs to be discussed.
Women are trying to tell the world that what is considered “normal” is typically not okay.
Some people are taking issue with the terminology around Ansari being accused of sexual assault.
For people who have never felt trapped or stuck in a similar situation, the details surrounding Ansari’s behavior may not seem “that bad” or “as bad” as some other stories we have heard in the past few months. Writer Eve Ewing spells out why so many women have stories like this. She discusses why it’s just as important to include interactions that are not outwardly violent. Ewing’s thread is about how we need more thorough and stronger education about consent.
It’s clear that the conversation needs to continue.
We need to keep talking about consent, coercion, and the experiences of men and women who have survived sexual assault or trauma at any level. We hope Aziz Ansari will appropriately and respectfully address the accusations and genuinely apologize to the woman he hurt.