There’s a lot that we can learn from the recent story of comedian, actor and filmmaker Aziz Ansari and the anonymous woman named ‘Grace’ who claimed that he sexually assaulted her. As has already been correctly pointed out by multiple writers, no “assault” ever occurred and the entire encounter was completely and utterly consensual by both parties (despite what any radical feminist might tell you.) Now, this doesn’t excuse Ansari’s pig-like behavior as a man, but it also means that Grace isn’t off the hook as a woman either. Moreover, this whole thing really speaks to where our culture is in terms of its perspective on sexual relations between men and women. So, let’s look at the facts first.
By now you’ve undoubtedly heard that the pair first met back at the 2017 Emmy Awards. At some point, Grace got his phone number and they ended up exchanging flirtatious text messages back and forth for a few days. After a date night that went bad (because he offered her the wrong kind of wine or something), Ansari and Grace returned to his apartment, where they engaged in various sexual acts, with Grace consenting to all of it. Ansari wanted to progress to having intercourse, but Grace writes that since she was uncomfortable with this, she gave off some “non-verbal cues.” However, she never actually communicated it directly. The truth is that — by her own account — she took off all of her clothes, sat completely naked on the kitchen counter, and subsequently performed even more sexual acts on him, despite expressing a desire to want to slow the encounter down. (Confused yet?)
Her written account continues with a definitive moment where she does finally express her desire for everything to stop. After the two get dressed and watch a little TV, Ansari starts to kiss her again, at which point she says she would like to leave. He calls an Uber car for her and eventually even apologizes via text message for how the night went, saying that he “misread things in the moment.”
Anyone with half a brain and a working sense of objectivity who took the time to read Grace’s 3,000-word report of the account on Babe.net would realize the absurdity of her accusations. This was not rape. Of course, the problem is that almost no one did take the time to read such a long-winded diatribe. Hence, Ansari was instantly labeled a disgusting pervert and a sexual predator. This is how things tend to go.
And the rest, as they say, is history. The man’s career may not be completely obliterated, but this will certainly leave a permanent scar on his public image, despite the fact that he never once forced Grace to do anything against her will. Sure, he seduced her and behaved like a boorish animal, but he never physically forced himself onto her. Besides, she was free to leave the encounter at any point. Also, she retained the freedom to say “No” when asked to perform oral sex acts.
But she didn’t say “No.” She stuck around and performed the act not once, but twice. She consented to every bit of it.
And now she’s mad. She’s mad and she’s claiming that she was raped. But, she wasn’t raped. She wasn’t assaulted. She wasn’t victimized in any way. At least not by any legal standards. There’s not a jury in the world that would convict Ansari for what happened here. For God’s sake, the man allowed her to leave his apartment and even called a car for her. I’m not saying he’s the Perfect Gentleman. Far from it. No true gentleman would have expected or asked for or pushed for sexual intimacy on a date or outside the boundaries of marriage. But, he’s certainly not guilty in the way that everyone would have us believe.
The ultimate truth is that Grace’s anger, resentment and confusion aren’t solely directed at Ansari. Whether she’ll admit it or not — or realize it or not — Grace is mad at Grace. She allowed herself to engage in the most intimate, deepest form of human contact with a man who she barely even knew. She made a choice of her own free will to do so, even though she had the option to leave. That’s bound to leave a mark on your conscience and on your eternal soul. But, instead of coming to terms with her own poor decision and taking a little responsibility for it, she’s blaming him for what happened and labeling it as “sexual assault.”
In other words, she’s ignoring her conscience and her feelings of guilt. Why? Well, it’s easier that way.
And herein lies one of the many problems with modern society’s perspective on sexual morality — the “hook-up culture” as some have often referred to it. This notion that you can have sexual relations with anyone at any point and then experience no regret, remorse or shame afterwards is ludicrous. The human conscience simply doesn’t work that way. Even if you weren’t raised on “Christian” or “Biblical” values regarding sex, you still have a natural and ingrained knowledge of basic sexual morality, one that transcends consent. You know that there are colossal emotional, psychological and physical consequences.
That’s why encounters like the one between Grace and Ansari will never work out well in the end. A healthy dating couple practices restraint and delays sexual gratification until after marriage. Also, they establish this rule at the beginning of the relationship and have a conversation about it if necessary. They don’t just “wing it” and hope for the best. They don’t assume that everything will be fine. If there’s even a shred of doubt or concern on one side or the other, they discuss it and set up the relational parameters. They don’t do this because they’re religious nut jobs or prudes. They do it because they care about themselves and about each other.
Unfortunately, this way of thinking is seen as archaic and laughable by most folks today. Only an ultra-Puritanical psycho would actually practice physical restraint when it comes to sex before marriage, right?
Well, I suppose it depends on how much collateral damage you’re willing to endure before realizing that sexual liberation within a dating relationship — or any relationship other than marriage — is doomed from the beginning.
It just won’t work. And the sooner our culture realizes this, the better off we’ll be.
How many more Aziz Ansari’s or Grace’s have to suffer in the public limelight as examples before we change our warped views of sexual morality?