Sexual misconduct: It’s time we women acknowledged our role in it

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By Sabrina Almeida

Comedian Aziz Ansari is the latest male celebrity to be accused of sexual misconduct. When the dust on this whole issue has settled, I wonder how many, if any, will remain standing.

The term “fallen men” will have a new meaning.

I am all for prosecuting aggressors who use their physical might (and other means like date rape drugs) to subdue their unsuspecting female victims to the fullest extent of the law. Even shaming them, perhaps. But not so much some of those who are being called out for ‘intent’.

Meaning men intending to have sexual relations ‘without stopping to think’ that their date, co-worker or employee might not feel the same way. Especially in situations where the woman suddenly has a change of heart and walks away… but then says, “he tried to make me” as an afterthought.

Some ladies believe all the baggage (blame?) should not be dropped at on women’s shoulders alone. (I’m not sure where they got this impression.) They say, we should bring up our boys better! To me this sounds like shifting all the ‘baggage’ to the other side.

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I agree that we should teach our young men to respect women. But shouldn’t we also alert our daughters about sending wrong signals and mixed messages?

It appears we are shocked that the implications of being alone in a hotel room or house with a man haven’t kept up with our ideas of liberation and equality.

But the truth is that even progressive women like me, warn our children (both boys and girls) about getting into compromising positions. It’s what our mothers always told us… “boys are looking to score”.

I do not condone sexual impropriety by men or women. I am equally incensed at men who try to ‘paw’ women with the notion they are available, as I am with women who believe they have a right to flaunt their sexuality and claim innocence. Being half dressed or nude with a man is sexual provocation and it can only lead in one direction.

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I have a question for Grace, the 23-year-old “girl” who accused Ansari of sexual misconduct. What did she think would happen when she agreed to go home with him after dinner? Ansari’s expectations have been made clear to us and frankly they do not surprise me.

We women might not want to acknowledge that sexual liberation is not just freedom to choose when and how but also openness to casual sex. Many men may operate on that premise and it is in our best interests to set them straight before things heat up or turn ugly.

No one has the right to force you, but you shouldn’t allude to in word or behaviour either. I’ve seen it play out.

Unfortunately, with all that’s happened, even women who cry wolf will now have society and the media on their side.

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Women’s empowerment doesn’t just afford us rights, it comes with responsibilities too. As more than equal, like we want to be, we should accept that some situations are totally within our control. Admit that we too push boundaries, exploit relationships and situations to see how far we can go.

Shaking of the banner of the “weaker sex” means we have the strength to stop this injustice by exercising good judgement, being clear about our expectations and never revisiting the scene of a crime. I just can’t wrap my head around situations where women will go back for more of the same.

Yes, let’s stand up and support each other. Not just against sexual misconduct but also to break free of this mentality of helplessness, that we women often feign. – CINEWS

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