An alternative outlet for women by women

Joshua Akintomide,

“I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life,” read the headline of the latest news article written by Katie Way of She is among the growing list of women sharing their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

The nature of this headline may not come as a surprise to those who are aware of the #MeToo movement founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke. The movement, which supports sexual assault survivors and hopes to end sexual violence, skyrocketed after actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women via Twitter to share their experiences of sexual misconduct and demonstrate how prevalent the issue is.

Aziz Ansari currently finds himself cast as the antagonist in the newest chapter of the #MeToo campaign.

Prior to recent allegations, Ansari was regarded as a good feminist ally. That has made accusations against him sting harder, according to Vox.

Grace is the pseudonym donned by the victim of the story in order to protect her identity. She is not a public figure and would like to remain anonymous.

In the retelling of Grace’s traumatic encounter with Ansari, Way describes a rushed dinner date which led her back to Ansari’s apartment where things quickly turned sexual. This resulted in an overwhelming feeling of discomfort.

According to Way’s article, Ansari was kissing Grace within moments. “In a second his hands were on my breasts,” Grace said.

Despite Grace’s various nonverbal and verbal cues of discomfort within the short amount of time spent in Ansari’s apartment, he continued to press forward. Only further distressing Grace.

“I said something like, ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill,” according to Grace.

While it may very well be possible Ansari was just simply oblivious to these cues, the article states, “Whether Ansari didn’t notice Grace’s reticence or knowingly ignored, is impossible for her to say.  ‘I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.’”

Against this type of evidence, it’s hard to craft an argument where Aziz Ansari is innocent of any wrongdoing.

However, in spite of Way’s noble efforts to write a piece that offers Grace a viable platform to have her story heard and solidified in the #MeToo pantheon, the article has instead been faced with backlash from critics questioning the publication’s true intentions.

The major criticism this article encountered was from an article in Jezebel that accused of amateurish reporting due to “the way it was written with an almost prurient and unnecessarily macabre interest in the minute details of their interaction.”

The Jezebel article goes on to state, “Babe’s piece about Grace is important, the inexperience evident in the execution of the piece did a disservice to the topic.”

This raises an even more important question: Is it wrong for a journalist to make an honest attempt at vindicating a victim’s personal trauma in hopes of championing the victim’s courage and bravery to speak out? Or is the journalist better off letting a more experienced writer take over?

If the research conducted has proven to me one thing it’s that while a journalist may not have developed all the skills required to report a story on an award-winning level, it shouldn’t discredit their efforts.

While there may be room for improvement stylistically, the focus on this story should solely remain on how Ansari’s and others’ troubling behavior continues to put women in traumatic situations time and time again.