The launch of “Under The Carpet: #metoo” feels like the birth of a precious baby… And, like a proud mother, I am hoping that it will go on to do great things.
SPH’s The Straits Times and the Chinese newspapers Shin Min Daily Newspapers gave us some wonderful coverage. And I am keeping my fingers crossed so that we can hit 100 youtube subscribers soon, so that we can get a unique URL. So, if you are reading this, please do go to our YouTube Channel Manta Pictures and click subscribe.
The thing about having your face in the newspapers is that people whom you have not seen or heard from may sometimes be reminded of your existence and get in touch. Thus, my “Aziz Ansari” story.
For those of you who have been following the whole #metoo movement, you might have read the article in Babe.com where a young lady recounted how her date with Aziz Ansari ended in tears for her. She became the subject of ridicule after the article, with many saying that she was just trying to get attention, or that she should not be upset if she did not tell Ansari firmly that she did not want any anything physical.
Well, after the article about the launch of my show came out in the papers today, a man from my junior college contacted me to congratulate me. This man, let’s call him A, was a counsellor at my JC and was someone whom I had considered a friend. Until one day, when we were studying late at night in school, he forced kissed me. I was surprised, but, not knowing how to react, I had let him kiss me that night. I avoided him after that incident, and when we finished JC, I didn’t see him again until several years ago. When A met me, he wanted to come to my apartment, and tried to put the moves on me again. I am now much older and more assertive. But he still made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
So, when I got the message from him. I finally plucked up the courage to tell him about how he had made me feel sexually harassed in the past.
To my surprise, he said that he had thought that we were in a brief relationship back in JC, when all I felt was awkward uncomfortableness when he tried to kiss me. But I was afraid to lose his friendship and so I let him kiss me… thus years later, he thought that he was at liberty to do the same again.
I am not sure if he was sincere, but after I told him that I never saw him as anything other than as a friend, and that he had forced himself on me, WITHOUT asking me for permission, making the assumption that I felt romantically towards him, he apologised.
It made me think. Has he never been educated on the etiquette of courtship? Does he not know that there is a need to get very clear permission before initiating any physical intimacy? Is this something that we have omitted to teach our younger generation. And why are we not teaching them this basic rule of courtship? How many young adults are navigating these blurred lines and making wrong assumptions which go on to cause great discomfort to the other party? What can we do as a society to change this?