“I believe Aziz and ‘Grace’ are a product of a society and a culture that places consent in the realm of strictly ‘No’ means no, without a lot of focus on ‘Yes’ or silence not necessarily meaning consent. This same culture (whether partly rooted in patriarchy or evolutionary biology) pushes for men to mostly take the initiative in establishing communication and taking the lead in heterosexual interactions,while also defining seduction as a dynamic process.
With that being said, I am conflicted on absolutely placing the blame on Aziz regarding reading the non-verbal cues in that interaction. At some point she expresses that the speed at which things progressed initially made her unable to properly organise and articulate her thoughts to him. Following this, she performed oral sex on him at his request and then expressed her disinterest in having sex with him afterwards, to which he seemed to agree. Then she added, ‘Next time’. We live in a society where we police verbal communication and this is another reason I’m conflicted about this.
Fast forward to the point where they were around the couch and he requested she perform oral sex on him to which she agreed. I believe she felt some pressure- possibly stemming from her feeling bad about saying no partly because she went to his apartment, her inability to reconcile what she truly wanted, who she thought he was and what she was experiencing, and also possibly being too star struck to disagree. All of those reasons make me sympathize with her. However, I do not want to blame Aziz for not understanding this pressure due to the context involving romance.
I do believe there was some inappropriate behavior displayed by Aziz in continuously persuading her to have sex after she expressed her disinterest in that.
To wrap this up, I think the main issue here is ‘Yes’ and silence not necessarily meaning consent and an indication for us to keep dialoguing what consent truly means in sexual interactions.”
– C. Ilozue