The recent accusation against Aziz Ansari is opening up an entirely new conversation about the #METOO movement. The direction seems to be changing, but is it a good thing or not?

Originally the idea was that men in power use that power to abuse those who can’t fight back without retaliation or consequence. Now the focus has generally shifted to every time a woman felt uncomfortable and was made to do something she didn’t want to do, whether she said so or not.

I definitely agree that we need to be able to talk about this. But I also feel like every man and woman has a story like this, and I don’t necessarily think they all need to be called to the floor for it publicly.

There are definitely boorish jerks who don’t know how to treat a woman and should be avoided. So do we Scarlet Letter them so all women avoid them forevermore? Or do we tell them to their face that they are being an ass, and then walk out.

It’s my opinion this recent story is telling us that we need to be stronger as women and know when to say no. Acting uncomfortable, for me, is not the same things as not giving consent unless you are physically pulling and pushing away. Sex for the first time can be uncomfortable and awkward anyway. How does a man tell the difference if we don’t tell them?

I want to be supportive of my fellow females who feel they have been abused. Perhaps they were assaulted and the rapist denies it so they can’t get justice. I get that and that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

I think we as women need to change our own behavior as a model for what we expect from men. When I started dating, I ran into some definite issues where men expected sex on the first date. It was confusing and unsettling trying to sort this out in the dating world. I went through the full panoply of typical female thoughts, including “If I don’t sleep with him will he want to go out with me again?”

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was a relationship-girl and sex shouldn’t be a part of the equation until I was ready. I started telling them from the get-go, I’m not into sleeping with strangers.

Men stopped calling me back after the first date, but instead of taking this personally I just scratched them off my list. Finally I found someone who did call me back, whose focus wasn’t just sex, and who I could have a meaningful relationship with prior to even broaching the subject of sex. These men do still exist.

A lot of women like the attention they get sleeping with men on the first date. To each their own. It’s partially because of these women that some men feel it might be okay to just have that agenda. It’s a two-sided street. But if they aren’t forcing you and you can say no and walk away, how is that their fault?

Had anonymous-Grace told a story of what a jerk Aziz was and how she walked out, I think I’d have a little more respect for the situation. Perhaps if he had threatened her or somehow forced her after she had said no, I could see that being assault. Honestly, he just sounds like one of those douchy guys who enjoys having random sex with strangers. If that’s not the person she wants to be, why didn’t she walk out the second she realized what his agenda was.

From what I can tell, the story seems pretty one-sided, all his fault. She had the opportunity to walk away or say no at any moment. He was not her boss. There was no fear of retaliation and he made no threat as such. If a man is making his intentions obvious and they aren’t your intentions, how is he supposed to know if you don’t say anything?

I’ve met a lot of jerks in bars. I’ve had my own walks of shame, and felt truly awful for giving in to situations I wasn’t really comfortable with. But I didn’t say no and they didn’t force me. So how can I blame someone for something I went along with? It’s a mutual problem among men AND women.

None of this means that I am okay with victim shaming. I’ve had one of those moments where I got into a car with a stranger and ended up at his mercy. I said no and it didn’t matter. I know how it feels to not be able to fight back for fear of your life. There is a huge difference between a situation like that and one that you actually can walk out of. I feel this story just belittles moments of actual abuse. She was not powerless. She still could have said no and walked out.

Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t want to acknowledge I’ve been abused many more times than I think I have. But for me, I want to be able to take responsibility for my actions and decisions as well. Otherwise, what power do I have at all?

If I end up on a date with an asshole, I want to be able to say no and leave. If I can’t because he won’t let me, I’m being assaulted. But if I can’t just because I’m scared of “being rude” or “unsocial,” it’s clearly my responsibility for staying in that situation. If that’s not the case, then I’m not truly in control of my life and what I do.

While I think it’s important that we are talking about this, I wish we were talking about more ways to make women feel strong, not weaker. I think more women need to feel empowered to just walk away in the first place, instead of hiding behind social media.

If more of us would just say, “this isn’t how I want to be treated,” then I think the men who use these tactics will realize it’s not workable or desirable. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to call this assault.

What do you think? What does the #metoo movement mean for you?

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