Ranger editorials typically contain varying amounts of sarcasm and satire; this particular editorial deals with a difficult topic and is not meant to make light of the seriousness of sexual harassment.
In recent months, it seems like each day we hear of yet another person being accused of sexual harassment or misconduct. This is a serious matter that requires delicate handling of both accusers and the accused.
In most cases, the accuser initiates the process by contacting the authorities or news outlets to get their story out into the open. With so many people being accused and found guilty, it’s easy to jump to conclusions and side with the “victim,” but we, the Ranger staff, feel that it’s of vital importance to really dig into the specifics of a case to determine who is really at fault.
The question we are wrestling with is this: Is it possible that some of the blame could ever fall on the “victim?”
In our research for this topic, we discovered the case of Aziz Ansari and a woman called “Grace.” In a piece written by Katie Way, writer for Babe.net, Grace recants her evening with Ansari. Way details the date between Grace and Ansari in which there was a 10-minute period of sexual interaction. Grace talks about the way Ansari kept moving forward with sexual activity, but that she was uncomfortable with the situation and that she did not want to have sex with Ansari.
This is where we began to question whether this was a case of sexual misconduct, or simply miscommunication.
Grace mentions that Ansari moved her hand to his genitals “five to seven times” and that they both performed oral sex on each other. Way quotes Grace as saying, “Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling.”
Eventually, Grace makes it clear that she would rather “chill out” on the couch and watch TV with Ansari, and then she leaves.
In today’s climate, we feel that it’s of utmost importance to make your intentions absolutely clear.
In this situation, it’s entirely possible that Ansari is simply guilty of misreading the non-verbal and verbal cues as if Grace was “playing hard to get.” In the article, Grace never mentions any moments where she explicitly tells Ansari that she does not want to have intercourse with him and that she was uncomfortable with the situation.
We want to encourage our readers to communicate their intentions clearly and boldly during their romantic encounters. Be bold in communicating your intentions and level of comfort with what is happening.
We want to be clear that sexual harassment is never the fault of the victim. Our stance is this: clear communication can mitigate or even resolve may situations where sexual harassment could occur.