If Aziz Ansari were a college student, he would likely be expelled. That should alarm us.
A woman described a sexual encounter with the comedian Aziz Ansari as “the worst of her life,” one that shook her deeply. She has concluded in retrospect that Ansari’s actions constitute “sexual assault.”
Most of the commentary on the much-discussed piece published by Babe.net has rejected that characterization. But some argue that the Ansari allegations suggest that the time indeed has come for an aggressive expansion of what we mean by assault.
This is harder to defend. And defining aggressive pursuit as assault leads to consequences no one should want.
Virtually every college and university has already defined sexual assault in the way “Grace” does: Being proven to have engaged in sexual conduct without express affirmative consent will get you expelled or suspended. And my experience as a Title IX lawyer representing people on campuses accused of sexual assault has shown me how poorly those cases are handled — and why the definition of sexual assault should not be broadened.
Yes, in the public debate about Ansari most people are making important distinctions between Ansari’s behavior and what Weinstein is accused of. But behind closed doors at universities, actions like Ansari’s are absolutely being lumped together with rape.
Let me be clear. Seeking affirmative consent — ensuring that your partner is agreeing to each step in a sexual encounter either verbally, or through a clear nonverbal action — is a very good practice. It’s how sex should happen, particularly between people who don’t know each other well. At a bare minimum, it’s just polite. It’s what someone does who cares about the feelings of the person he (or she) may end up having sex with.
Ansari, according to Grace’s account, didn’t seek affirmative consent. Read More Here