Another day and another male Hollywood figure is having accusations of sexual assault brought against him. Today's culprit: Aziz Ansari, esteemed comedian and recent winner of the Golden Globes award for best actor in a TV series.
In a powerful account, Grace (not her real name), a photographer, describes a date that she went on with Ansari, which she describes as the "worst experience with a man" she's ever had.
Grace's story of her experience is raising a lot of questions, with people trying to decide whether or not it can be characterized as sexual assault, specifically with Ansari's active involvement in the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
The most terrifying part, though, is that what supposedly happened between Grace and Aziz Ansari is nothing new. Many women have gone through a similar experience in which sexual contact that they weren't comfortable with took place. Many question themselves about whether or not what happened to them was sexual assault, or if their uneasiness is normal.
They are left with the same questions that Grace asked herself, the same questions that the public is asking since she has come forward with her story: Is this sexual assault? Or is this just an example of Aziz Ansari being a jerk? At what point in this sexual encounter did Ansari cross the line?
And was Grace's "no" firm enough or did she beat around the bush too much? Ansari is a feminist; he speaks out against people who do things like this. No way could he be a sexual offender.
All these questions and more are damaging and dismissing of sexual misconduct survivors and their experiences. A victim's narrative is not a political playground for spectators to make a mockery of their pain.
If Grace claims that Ansari assaulted her, I believe her. That's what the #MeToo movement is about. And if he is, in fact, guilty, the due process of the law should be relied on to discover the truth and execute the consequences.
Grace compares the 34-year-old actor to a "horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old " whose persistent pressuring and refusal to listen left her feeling violated, disrespected, and assaulted.
The fact that this sort of behavior is accepted as the norm among young men in high school and college is creating a narrative that is blurring the lines between what qualifies as assault and what is just a bad sexual experience.
If women should expect young men to disregard them every time they say "no" or "not this time" or "I'm not ready" or "slow down" then what kind of message are we sending both young men and women?
We are teaching them that the lines of consensual sex are easy to blur, that "no" means "convince me," and that a woman's safety and security and sense of wellbeing take the backseat to a man's sexual pleasure.
Despite all the progress that is being made throughout the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, we live in a society where men are expected to behave this way and women are expected to put up with it.
Women are taught that sex is supposed to hurt, that men want to have sex all the time, that it's the only thing on their minds. And men are taught that their pleasure is a priority, that they're entitled to an orgasm every single time they engage in sexual behavior, even at the expense of their partner's pleasure, wellbeing, or consent.
These teachings are toxic. They're wrong, sexist, and damaging to both men and women. And situations like these are the consequences: not only on the red carpet, but in the halls of our high schools, the talk of our locker rooms, and the White House of our government.
It's time to let these men know that we see them, we remember them, and their time's up.