I’ve been thinking all day about Louis CK’s statement not just because I like him but because he admitted that he thought asking first made it okay.
“At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true.”
Because that is, effectively, what we teach men (& everyone else) about consent, isn’t it? Silence isn’t consent, drunk isn’t consent, but someone saying “yes, that’s okay” is sufficient.
He continued by explaining he did learn better (after it was too late).
“But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
And now we’re getting somewhere, to something like Consent 2.0, when people with power – due to age, sex, popularity, or any other kind of privilege, real or metaphorical – actually think about whether or not the person they’re asking has a real, actual choice to say no.
If they don’t, it isn’t consent, and it’s not just a ‘predicament’, either. It’s sexual harassment or assault or both.
I predict there will be numerous students who come out about their former professors, all sorts of business folks who will come out about executives, and plenty of other people in situations who had to say yes when they didn’t want to who will now start talking about how real and how frequent this bullshit is.
Keep them coming, folks. This is disgusting behavior. These stories are true.