I was scrolling through twitter when I stopped short an article that genuinely shocked me. It was one written by a young girl, ten years younger than her abuser, who had recently gone out with star of the Netflix original comedy “Masters of None.” I remember just nights before watching Aziz Ansari receive his Golden Globe award while sporting a pin on his all-black tuxedo that held the two bold words “Times Up.” As I watched, I found myself overcome with respect for this man and the morals that he stood for.
However, it became exceedingly evident to me that the morals he chose to uphold in a public format were incredibly different than that of what he participated in while in private. Aziz recently went on a date with a woman that he met in a public setting who he later invited out to dinner. Upon going to dinner, the woman recounts how he seemed in a hustle to leave before inviting her up to his apartment where he began making repeated sexual advances towards her despite her blatant discomfort at the situation in its entirety.
This event has struck quite a controversy and ignited debate on a variety of issues, one being: is silence consent? The woman who was horrified throughout the experience didn’t say no until fleeing the apartment and demanding an Uber home. This struck the debate that if silence can be consent. Can not saying yes be taken as a definite no?
The overall theme of this narrative is that women who retract consent cannot be rape victims. Women who are uneasy by the encounters they are experiencing are still giving consent. A cold, limp, scared body that isn’t verbally saying no is a consenting one. The overarching theme of this entire argument is that men can be against sexual assault without fully knowing what it is. Aziz has been a self-proclaimed feminist since 2012, appearing on the "David Lettermen Show" to inform all the attendants that he supported the rights of women.
It became evident to me upon reading the article of the victim that Aziz did not support women as human beings, but rather women as a concept. He supported the idea of men and women being equal without ever really having to practice it in his everyday life or even knowing what equality is. Above all else, he supported what women could do for him and how they could satisfy him, not feminism and the equality of sexes.
I understand that there are two sides to every story. I also understand that the woman did not say no until she was forced to a point of such discomfort that she felt she had to. However, I also hear the voices of women who have said they had the misfortune or having one too many experiences almost identical to the one that Aziz put this woman in.
Dating “nice guys” can often turn into a game of guess who.
Guess if the nice guy is really nice or is only pretending to be as a ploy to get women in bed.
Guess if he wants me to come up to his apartment to have a glass of wine, discuss politics, watch Tv, get to know me better, or if it is only so he can pin me up against the wall seconds after entering the door.
The thing that is eerie about this story is that almost every woman has experienced it at some point in her life. We are forced to play a game of guess who and it is a game that gets scarier each time you play. In the end, neither party truly wins.
The film and media that we entertain fuels this line of thinking where two characters begin making out seconds after passing the door frame of an apartment. It is obvious to me that Aziz went directly into this entirely incorrect way of thinking instead of having a logical, adult conversation of consent.
As a woman, I have had to play this sick game as well. The game of “guess who” has been one I’ve been forced to play ever since I started realizing what men were. I have always had to decipher if the words of men were actually their own opinions or an elaborate play to win over the interest of a woman.
It is obvious to me now that the pin Aziz sported on that night was in no way due to his support of the cause, but rather an elaborate ploy to cater to Hollywood and try to aid a cause in which he fuels the problem.
We’ve seen this display of behavior time and time again. Whether it be the reality star Josh Duggar who campaigned for family values while spending his nights paying off prostitutes for sex while his wife stayed at home with their three children. Or Oklahoma Senator, Ralph Shortey who advocated for marriage being between a man and women only to have his escapades of sexual encounters with an underage boy to be discovered. It is evident that celebrities in media will campaign for a cause because it is popular and not because of the actual support that they hold for the cause. Aziz has campaigned for a cause while actively being part of the problem.
Seventy-seven percent of rapes occur while in the house of the victim or in the house of the perpetrator. The notion has arisen that women are assaulted only on campuses or at work, but the terrifying reality is often times it happens in quiet, intimate settings like this. In settings where you are removed from the outside world and there aren’t many people around to hear you scream. The argument has been posed time and time again. Why didn’t she get up and scream? However, the question can be asked: would anyone have heard her if she did?
This story is one that is all too familiar to women.
Silence is not consent. The notion that women have to be screaming, crying, or shoving a man off of them in order for it to be considered assault is a damaging one. The fact that this instance was chalked up to nothing more than a “bad date” or that the two had “poor chemistry” is aiding in the forever spiraling world of rape culture that we live in.
Sexual assault should not be considered a “bad date” and silence certainly isn’t consent.
It’s time we stop forcing women into playing an elaborate game of guess who. Silence is not consent. Assault should never be chalked up to “bad chemistry” or confusion.
Time is up. But nice pin, Aziz.