Hands up who's had a sexual encounter they've felt ashamed about? Hands up who's felt like they've gotten too far into a situation and gone through with it instead of leaving? Hands up who's felt uncomfortable with the sexual acts themselves whether it be rough sex, forcing you to do something you're not comfortable with or being told something reprehensible?
Chances are you've answered 'Yes' to at least one of these scenarios. And that, friends, is not ok.
But this sort of behaviour is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche, most of us don't even realise what's happening is wrong – of COURSE a dude is going to try it on – "boys will be boys after all!"
It's up to us to tell them to piss off and slap them away – right? RIGHT?!
Over the past few days, you'll have seen 'cute funnyman' Aziz Ansari splashed over the news for the wrong reasons.
The Master of None star and self-proclaimed #woke feminist has been accused of some seriously shitty behaviour.
A 23-year-old woman known as 'Grace' says Aziz "violated" her after they'd been on a date and she felt forced to partake in sexual acts with him.
"The move he kept doing was taking his two fingers in a V-shape and putting them in my mouth, in my throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he'd stick his fingers in my throat he'd go straight for my vagina and try to finger me."
At one point, Grace says she said, "I said I don't want to feel forced because then I'll hate you, and I'd rather not hate you."
The day after the date, Grace messaged Ansari a lengthy text to let him know that she felt "violated." He responded, "I'm so sad to hear this. All I can say is, it would never be my intention to make you or anyone feel the way you described. Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I'm truly sorry."
I'd like to stress, for the record, I am in no way saying Aziz Ansari is a sexual abuser. This is not the argument here whatsoever.
I'm way more concerned about sexual coercion and how prevalent it is. You probably have your own experience on the matter.
Flashback to last night when I was sitting on the bus on my way home from work with my boyfriend.
My boyfriend (incidentally the kindest, smartest, most thoughtful person I know – the very pinnacle of moral civility, if you will) says out of nowhere: "Poor Aziz Ansari."
Buckle up, fellow bus passengers; you're in for a wild ride.
I was incredulous. "Why do you feel sorry for him?" I snapped back.
Turns out he hadn't even read the story and had no idea what Aziz had even been accused of.
He was defending Aziz Ansari based on the fact he plays a self-deprecating hapless character who's cute and funny. In short: Fuck. Sake.
^My boyfriend's defence of Aziz Ansari: But he's so great on Master of None. Le sigh
So I quickly loaded up a news story on my phone and watched his reactions as he took it in.
"I don't see what the problem is," he concluded.
"Do you think that sort of behaviour is acceptable then?" I clapped back.
"If I put my fingers in your mouth and you didn't want me to do it, you'd probably bite them off!" he said, trying to brush it off and probably calm down a furious woman.
"And what about sticking his fingers in her vagina after doing so when she clearly didn't want it?" I raged.
(Side note: I dread to think what the fellow 324 passengers are thinking by this point.)
Something about the fingers hit a chord with me and my anger was momentarily misdirected.
I remembered being back on holiday about six years ago. I'd drunkenly kissed someone staying at the same apartments as mine. We fell asleep on a hammock on the balcony and when I woke up; his fingers were in my vagina.
Yes, I had kissed him, yes I was sleeping next to him but in what universe does that mean, "Sure, stick your fingers in me when I'm asleep."
The worst part of it was I didn't even do anything – I literally shoved his hand away, slid off the hammock and went and hopped into my bed.
Thinking back to it now - it's sexual assault. Sexual coercion's gross AF big brother.
He (probably) had no idea how fucked up that was and I am mad with myself for not telling him.
Grace did tell Aziz afterwards that his behaviour made her uncomfortable.
Again, I'll make the distinction that Aziz most likely thought his behaviour was completely acceptable and didn't realise there was any coercion going on (this is an assumption on my part).
But if you don't want someone sticking their fingers up your vagina, you don't want someone sticking fingers up your vagina. Pretty simple, right?
Anyways, back to the bus where my beloved was now going full Matt Damon on me.
"It's absolutely about a spectrum and what he did doesn't come close to some abusers."
This is true. But to paraphrase Alyssa Milano: "It's the micro that makes the macro".
I.e. it starts at the root. And the poison grows. This behaviour perpetuates rape culture. End of.
We're both seething by this point. So the bellend (sorry, babe) says: "If she didn't want him doing that to her, she should've manned up and told him."
She should've MANNED up and told him.
We calm down after I've made some indistinguishable noises to the 'man up' comment and he's sorry he's upset me.
My boyfriend's never been pressured into having sex so it's understandable why he finds this scenario wholly unrelatable.
Being the respectful human he is, he did listen to my points, conceded on a few and vowed not to ignite my ire by making dumb comments (I'm sorry, saying "poor Aziz" when he didn't know the situation was plain bloody dumb).
These are the conversations we have to have and while I wish I'd expressed my views more eloquently (read: not tell him our future children will have pig tails), I'm glad we had this particular biff.
I hope instead of people shrugging this incident off, they'll really think twice about their own behaviour - past/present and future.
And hey, if anyone's in any doubt about pressurising someone into doing something they don't want to do, maybe it's time to revisit this spectacular tea analogy/aka the best video about consent on the interwebs.
Read more about the #MeToo movement
If you, or someone you know, needs to talk to someone about these issues, call Lifeline on 13 11 44. In an emergency, call 000