Does Coercion Equal 'Rape'? 2 Takes on Aziz Ansari

Bari Weiss says allegation trivializes #MeToo movement
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2018 9:24 AM CST
'Rape' or a 'Bad Date'? 2 Takes on Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari arrives at the 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards on Jan. 11, 2018.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

When Sezin Koehler first read that Aziz Ansari made a date feel "violated," she thought, "This isn't sexual assault. This is several bad dates I have been on in the past." It was then that Koehler remembered what she calls a "scarily similar" encounter—though it differs dramatically from what "Grace" described to—in which a man bloodied her arm while trying to force her into anal sex, refused to leave her apartment, and continued to try to take her clothes off as she told him no, she writes at Wear Your Voice. Her realization was that Ansari coerced his date, and coercion "is rape." Bari Weiss has a very different take, however. What Grace experienced was indeed a bad date, with "bad sex," and entering it into a global conversation about sexual abuse is "arguably the worst thing that has happened to the #MeToo movement since it began," she writes at the New York Times.

Grace describes Ansari undressing her but says she felt uncomfortable as he tried to have sex while ignoring "clear nonverbal cues." When she told him no, she says he suggested they put their clothes on. This isn't sexual assault, and those suggesting it is are putting forth "new yet deeply retrograde ideas about what constitutes consent," Weiss writes. Grace's story does highlight several issues, including a "broken sexual culture," Weiss notes. But the solution "does not begin with women torching men for failing to understand their 'nonverbal cues.' It is for women to be more verbal," she writes. "If you are hanging out naked with a man, it's safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you," she adds. "If he pressures you to do something you don't want to do, use a four-letter word, stand up on your two legs and walk out his door." Read Weiss' piece here, and Koehler's here. (More Aziz Ansari stories.)

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