Bringing emotional abuse to the spotlight

Opinion+columnist+Brenna+Wolfe+discusses+the+emotional+abuse+tied+to+acts+of+sexual+coercion%2C+such+as+the+highly+publicized+incident+with+comedian+Aziz+Ansari.
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Bringing emotional abuse to the spotlight

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the emotional abuse tied to acts of sexual coercion, such as the highly publicized incident with comedian Aziz Ansari.

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the emotional abuse tied to acts of sexual coercion, such as the highly publicized incident with comedian Aziz Ansari.

TNS

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the emotional abuse tied to acts of sexual coercion, such as the highly publicized incident with comedian Aziz Ansari.

TNS

TNS

Opinion columnist Brenna Wolfe discusses the emotional abuse tied to acts of sexual coercion, such as the highly publicized incident with comedian Aziz Ansari.

BRENNA WOLFE, Opinion Columnist

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Last week, an anonymous photographer, referred to by the pseudonym “Grace,” described a detailed date with Aziz Ansari with Babe news. I highly encourage everyone to read the original article for the whole story.

In summary, “Grace” and Aziz went out for dinner, and Aziz was in a hurry to go back to his apartment. Once there, Aziz immediately began aggressively making out with her and making sexual advances.

Within minutes, Aziz was performing oral sex on Grace. She kept repeating the word “slow” to Aziz, who, in return, took her hand and moved it to his crotch. She pulled her hand away about five to seven times, and he put it back each time.

Grace said, “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold” […] “I wasn’t really even thinking of [sex], I didn’t want to be engaged in that with him. But he kept asking, so I said, ‘Next time.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, you mean second date?’ and I go, ‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ and he goes, ‘Well, if I poured you another glass of wine now, would it count as our second date?’”

He then poured her a glass and handed it to her. Finally, towards the end of the date, when Grace realized how violated she felt, she recalled, “I remember saying, ‘You guys are all the same, you guys are all the fucking same.’” Ansari asked her what she meant, and when she turned to answer, she says he met her with “gross, forceful kisses.”

The reactions to this piece have been mixed. Some say that this is sexual assault and coercion. Many others say Aziz is the victim, and his career is at stake.

Journalist and CNN host Ashleigh Banfield read an open letter to Grace and repeatedly said that it was a “bad date,” implying that Grace was ruining the #MeToo Movement.

Another headline said, “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader,” while an NYT editor is calling it “bad sex,” and still others are saying “female helplessness.”

So far, the #MeToo Movement has only addressed physical assaults and verbal harassment. Grace’s “Worst Night of My Life” is an example of an average sexual encounter for many women, and it is emotional abuse.

That’s why we need to talk about it.

Aziz coerced Grace into oral sex. This is still sexual assault. Grace used body language combined with verbal language of “slow” or “maybe next time,” and Aziz still pressed on and pressured her.

This isn’t just about Grace and Aziz. This is about a society where women have been socialized to please others and to not stir up situations.

Men have been taught to go after what they want and to not stop until they have it. Grace walked into Aziz’s apartment wanting to make out, and Aziz pressured her into oral sex. Aziz had the power as a male and as a celebrity; he kept going after what he wanted like he was conditioned to.

The #MeToo movement has come to a point where we need to set a new standard. Simply “not sexual assault” isn’t good enough anymore.

We need to always be having healthy, consensual interactions. We need to end situations where men plead with their girlfriends to have sex until they say yes.

This is not healthy. This is coercion, and it is sexual assault. And this is what most average men are actively engaging in.

Most men aren’t the rapists that stalk around house parties. A lot of perpetrators are pressuring their girlfriends into unwanted sexual activity in order to check the box on “consent.”

This is why enthusiastic consent is so important! Don’t “convince” someone to have sex with you. Ask them if they want to have sex. If they say no, respect their decision!

We need enthusiastic consent! If you are engaging in sexual activity, you need to be able to communicate with your wants and needs to your partner. Sex without a verbal “no” can still be sexual assault.

So, welcome to 2018, where we are kicking male entitlement and dominance out of the bedroom for good. Instead, enthusiastic consent and respect are the new standard.

If you would like to discuss this topic further, please join Northern Iowa Feminists on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 8:00 p.m. in the Oak Room of Maucker Union.

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