Disclaimer: The Aziz Ansari story did trigger this blog post but the points I am making stand true even if the claims made against him turn out to be false.
My Gender Studies professor once told us how the world sees it is – sex is a car, men are the gas and women are the breaks. And today, I understand how that is the whole fucking problem. I am tired of all the apologia, victim blaming and using ambiguity of “mixed signals” to defend people from what they do. You know what mixed signals really mean? It simply means that you didn’t get the signals you really wanted. And you have been taught to aggressively pursue.
So when should you stop? When the consent isn’t CONTINUOUS, EXPLICIT and ENTHUSIASTIC, stop. CONSENT IS NOT A LACK OF “NO”. So you don’t believe in non-verbal cues? ASK. Assumption is the father of all assault. ASK FOR A “VERBAL CUE”. Ask gently and if in that moment, you don’t get a resounding YES as an answer, stop. If you get anything resembling a no, its over. If they are indecisive, move away and wait. You can tell when they don’t want it. Men can tell when a woman doesn’t want it. Please stop with your bullshit telling me otherwise.
If you hold the person who had to experience sexual misconduct accountable, you are just being a horrible human being. Besides showing zero sensitivity, asking “why didn’t they just leave”, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about trauma, gender dynamics, power relations and what not. You don’t know what it takes to even register the fact in your own mind that you are being violated. Some people fall weak, it shakes them up a bit. They fail to shout back saying “STAY AWAY FROM ME”. We need to empathize.
It takes a lot more for some women to fight the social conditioning they have been subjected to which demands them to remain polite while refusing a man or it might trigger a male rage spiral which might end in horrible ways. It takes a lot of strength to overcome that sickening feeling in your stomach when you realize you are being degraded. We need to stand back and listen to those who have experienced it. Any discourse around sexual misconduct needs to be handled with so much care, without hurting those who have survived it. I hope people break away from their privileges.