Aziz Ansari: why his incident is different than the others

Aziz Ansari: why his incident is different than the others

Aziz Ansari: why his incident is different than the others
January 31
23:51 2018

In the media, sexual harassment is an undeniably hot topic. From celebrities to affected individuals, these stories continue to prove its severity to the world. For actor and comedian Aziz Ansari, his incident is unique.

The 34-year-old faced scrutiny following accusations from an anonymous source, who goes by the name “Grace,” for sexual misconduct as indicated by an article published in January.

It started at a party where flirtation and numbers were exchanged. After days of continuous flirting via text, action evolved and the two went out on a date.

It was the end of the date that raised controversy. Grace reported after her first date with Ansari, the two found themselves at his apartment where things got physical.

Grace describes Ansari’s countless attempts of forced sexual activity when she was not comfortable with it.

She expressed Ansari did not seem to pick up on her nonverbal cues.

There is a big difference in identifying nonverbal and verbal cues regarding consent. Nonverbal cues are more difficult, and sometimes not clear enough, to point out.

In Ansari’s case, there was evidence expressing his slightly assertive behavior. However, she also voluntarily went along with those sexual advances and failed to give verbal cues indicating she was uncomfortable.

According to Dartmouth, “relying on nonverbal cues is risky.” Many can vouch for the statement, given that nonverbal cues consists of being non-responsive, leaving the partner unsure of what exactly the nonverbal cue entails.

Sure, verbal cues are effective in getting the point across, but nonverbal cues should do the trick as well.

All these nonverbal actions could imply that you are not interest in engaging in sexual activity: turning your head away, grunting with disinterest or propping your arms out in front of yourself.

However, there were various moments in the Ansari case when Grace could have avoided any further uncomfortable actions.

For one, to avoid the “bad date” all together, she could have ended the night at her front door, versus his.

Going home to your own place after dinner insinuates you ultimately have control. There, you can decide to let your date in or call it a night and say goodbye.

If the night does happen to make it back to “their place,” verbal cues are the best option if the night heats up.

One should try to be blunt and as straight-forward as possible about their intentions.

If sexual activity is permitted, say how far you are wanting to take things.

As for nonverbal cues, blocking and dodging physical interaction are both visible signs that the partner should pick up — there is a clear disinterest in moving forward physically.

The incident of Grace’s accusations and Ansari’s response has left an ongoing debate across the media.

Despite the claims, Aziz Ansari ultimately respected Grace’s decision in the end. It’s how long the encounter lasted before Grace decided to leave that caused so much controversy.

The miscommunication comes from the lack of clear consent.

Even when Grace later expressed her feelings on the situation, she chose to engage in sexual activity, which resulted in Ansari to believe the activity was consensual.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, many other celebrities have also encountered acts of sexual harassment and conducted assault on non-celebrity individuals, aside from the Aziz Ansari incident.

This raises the question of how we view these celebrities now after allegations and statements have been released.

Popular actor and college professor James Franco was allegedly using his celebrity advantage to exploit women. Franco is said to have assaulted five different women, four of which were his students and one was a mentor.

Unlike Franco, Aziz Ansari is a rising actor and comedian who cannot risk such scandalous publicity, especially when his career is still in the progression of celebrity status.

Franco on the other hand, has a brighter spotlight on him, given he has more experience under his belt. Franco seemed to have abused the fact he is a celebrity figure, but that does not solicit permission for him to take advantage of women the way he did. With multiple claims against Franco, views on him as a mentor and role model, taints his reputation as a celebrity, losing trust in him as a person.

I for one, sympathize for the victims of sexual harassment and assault. Both can lead to physical and emotional distress for those victimized.

But, sexual harassment and sexual assault are two different things.

It is a serious claim to make and one that will have serious implications on the accused’s life, even if the accusations aren’t true.

I do agree there was harassment present in the Ansari incident, but I believe that Ansari’s intentions were not spiteful as they were made out to be.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

About Author

Alyssa Gallegos

Alyssa Gallegos

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1 Comment

  1. Emilia
    Emilia February 08, 16:17

    hello
    here is a better synthesis of the situation that you should read.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2018/01/15/aziz-ansari-accusations-may-not-rape-rape-culture/

    Reply to this comment

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