I thought we learned our lesson with R. Kelly?

(Warning: This video is very explicit and may be upsetting)
Obviously, we haven’t.
Excuse me while I got delete all Akon from my playlist.

and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

190 Comments

  1. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Now Scilian,
    I’m getting the impression from the way you’re arguing that you’re one of those people who thinks that once a girl consents to sex, her partner can do whatever he wants to her. I bet you are one of those people who sorta think that (feel free to prove me wrong).
    Because guess what, just because she was willing to dance with him at first doesn’t give him permission to do whatever. I mean, if she got up there with him, then picked him up threw him around and started smacking his head on the floor in spite of him screaming, well then that would be wrong and she would be the criminal.
    I had a friend who was sexually assaulted. She consented to sex, but then he turned violent and wouldn’t let her go in spite of her saying “no” and trying to break away. It was painful and traumatic for her, and /very illegal/ under US law.
    If you were dancing with some girl, Scilian, and you started doing something that caused her to scream, my hope is you’d let her go. Just in case though, I don’t think I’m ever gonna agree to dance with you.

  2. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    “Some people do.”
    Some people like having their head smacked on the floor while they’re dancing? Really?
    Well, as long as you’re interested in wanting to “know what really happened” why don’t you find some proof that most people, or this girl in particular, want their head smacked on the floor while dancing. Seems like you’re interested in very selective kinds of information to me.

  3. roymacIII
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    All of which, Scilian, of course makes the fact that he lied to them to get them up there meaningless, right? I mean, getting them to do things under false pretenses is a-okay, yeah?
    I feel quite comfortable calling that assholish behavior.

  4. Doug S.
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Okay… let’s see if I can analyze the situation.
    1) Lying about the prize being a trip to Africa was wrong. Period.
    2) The girl’s age is irrelevant to judging this man’s actions; there was no reason for him or any of his staff to believe that the girl was under 18.
    3) I do not see the girl objecting to the “dance” in the video that was linked from the original post. It’s also hard to tell if her head was “smacked on the floor” or not. The “dance” was certainly sexual, crude, and somewhat rough, but, judging from the video alone, I don’t see it as a case of criminal sexual assault.

  5. kpsisu
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The age of the girl (or boy) is ALWAYS relevant… csc in the states, at least, has a provision that sexual contact with minors is illegal. regardless of whether he knew her age or not.

  6. Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    She now plays the I didnt want it card because of religous pressures.
    Oh Jesus Christ on a stick, Scilian. How the FUCK do you know why she’s upset?
    Boy I sure hope that if some bullshit like this ever happens to you, people don’t speculate about your motives for being upset that a man violently THREW YOU AROUND A STAGE without bothering to make sure you were okay with it.
    Doug, she COULDN’T object. How do you “object” when you’re hanging on for dear life???

  7. EG
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    there was no reason for him or any of his staff to believe that the girl was under 18.
    Oh, right. Because she’s the first underage kid ever to get into a club or a bar in the history of the world. It’s certainly not the kind of thing that goes on all the time. God knows that experienced performers and club-goers should never be expected to consider the possiblity of such a patently unheard-of thing occurring. I tell you, I’m sure that they are, as am I, shocked, just shocked to hear that anything like that could ever happen.
    Yeah, right.

  8. KateC
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    When did the definition of dancing become humping? I read the comments before I watched the video and I expected dancing, grinding and whatnot is somewhat normal for clubs. But what Akon was doing wasn’t simply grinding on someone. I was shocked and appalled at what I saw, regardless of the girls age. I most certainly would object to that sort of “dancing”. That was disgusting, I wasn’t a fan before and I’m definitely not one now.

  9. Genny
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know the girl’s age when I first watched the video, I just clicked on the link. And I still thought it was disgusting and that he was quite clearly taking advantage of a girl who had no clue what was going on. Watch the video, she’s not moving, she’s not “playing” or “dancing” back with him, she’s lying on the ground, then getting swung up into the air like a rag doll, and then is thrown back onto the ground again while he’s dry humping her. If that’s dancing in a club you go to, please tell me the name so I never go there myself. It’s horrible no matter if she’s 15 or 18. I’m 20 and I can tell you if that happened to me, I’d probably be shocked, horrified and hurt just like she was.
    The fact that she’s 15 makes it worse for her, because to have something like that happen when you’re that young is damaging. Perhaps moreso than if it happened to a girl my age. But his actions are reprehensible regardless of age.

  10. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    “I do not see the girl objecting to the “dance” in the video that was linked from the original post. It’s also hard to tell if her head was “smacked on the floor” or not. ”
    In the video it looks and sounds to me like it was being smacked on the floor. Furthermore, in her comments she /said/ her head was being smacked on the floor. Wouldn’t that be a bizarre thing to lie about? Other club-goers were witnesses, after all.

  11. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    That was intense and scary.
    Let’s assume that this happened and she was 18, because I think we can all agree that Akon’s actions were wrong given that she was 15.
    It seems like the point of contention of whether there was a lack of consent. She clearly never said “no” or “stop” or “I don’t like this”. She said “oh my god” which could be interpreted positively or negatively.
    Of course it could simply be that she was frightened rather than excited given that things happened so fast, and that’s why she was unable to say no (which does seem like a plausible scenario).
    That seems to be the main sticking point about whether this situation qualifies as assault – was there a lack of consent.

  12. EG
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    There certainly wasn’t affirmative consent, which we’ve been discussing in other threads. She says that she didn’t consent. What’s the sticking point?
    Oh, right. The slut’s lying (insert obligatory Duke reference here).

  13. aideen
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Eugh, I like hip hop music (even the mainstream stuff) but I’ve always thought Akon was putting out pretty much the crappest stuff on the market (music wise). Now here’s just another reason to hate him.

  14. aideen
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Eugh, I like hip hop music (even the mainstream stuff) but I’ve always thought Akon was putting out pretty much the crappest stuff on the market (music wise). Now here’s just another reason to hate him.

  15. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    well said, EG, you rock.

  16. Kattyben
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Watching this shortly after watching the Richard Gere/Shilpa Shetty video, it occurs to me that the difference is only one of degree.
    Gere kisses Shetty on both cheeks, and on her neck, and also bends her over backwards despite her obvious physical resistance to all of the above. She’s laughing, and she doesn’t strike out at him the way she would if he were, say, a guy who had just jumped out of the bushes. But it’s not hard to understand why not: there’s an audience; the context is one of cooperation; she’s completely taken by surprise; he’s bigger; nobody else is acting like anything’s wrong.
    I find it telling that many commenters, including those who take a strong position against Akon, resort implicitly to a legal paradigm to make their arguments. Was it a sexual assault? Did he have her consent? Was the girl fighting him? Does it matter what her age was or if he knew what her age was?
    Despite my legal training, I am not interested in entertaining that line of reasoning at all. Why not? Because, as I think The Law Fairy has pointed out, it’s a red herring.
    First of all, if anyone thinks that the law of sexual assault and harassment constitutes anything other than a refuge abusers and rapists, think again. We can make legal arguments until we’re blue in the face: look how well that’s served women thus far. To make legal arguments about men’s sexual assault on women is to play with a deck that’s deliberately and overwhelmingly stacked against us.
    Second — and this is the part that would be unbelievably obvious if we weren’t all trained to parse the details instead of look at the big picture — both incidents are about men’s sense of entitlement to the bodies of women. If she’s not screaming like a banshee and fighting like a wild animal, then it’s okay to kiss her or dry-hump her or rape her. (Oh, and if she is screaming and fighting? Well, she probably likes rough sex. Or was pretending, because she didn’t want people to know that she really liked it. Or was a tease and got what she deserved.)
    The point is not whether there was consent; the point is whether there was mutuality. Mutuality is any decent person’s definition of what is required when you touch a person sexually.
    Neither of these men bothered to ask themselves whether the women wanted or enjoyed or were horrified and disgusted by what was happening. They didn’t require the participation of the woman. They just required her to be present as objects for them to act upon physically. They did what they did TO the women, not with them.
    There’s a word for people who defend that sort of conduct: misogynist.
    Incidentally, the news coverage of this incident was nauseating. Reports were of “dirty dancing” or “grinding.” The incident was denounced, but it was never clear whether it was because it involved an underage woman, or because it was “obscene.” What was clear was that it wasn’t being treated as a possible assault.

  17. the_becca
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    On a personal (i.e. not talking about legalities at the moment), even if people are hung up on whether or not one needs strongly affirmative consent — aren’t the actions in this video so extreme and potentially injurious (I mean damn, man…) that it should be necessary to be really clear on the issue of consent first? I mean, whether or not one considers it absolutely necessary to have a full conversation about consent before engaging in regular old missionary-style sex, pretty much everyone considers it necessary to fully articulate everything before doing anything that could potentially injure you or humiliate you in front of a huge group of people, right?

  18. the_becca
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    kattyben — didn’t see your comment before I posted mine, and I couldn’t agree with you more. “Mutuality is any decent person’s definition of what is required when you touch a person sexually.” Yes. Wow.

  19. raginfem
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Kattyben’s point was awesome, and it made me think even more: it’s SO true that guys tend to think they are entitled to touching or kissing women’s bodies.
    I’m in college, and I can’t count the number of times a guy has come up behind me and started grinding on me without even asking permission or even frigging ASKING MY NAME. Is it really that hard to introduce oneself?
    This also made me think of when Adrien Brody won an Oscar for Best Actor & kissed Halle Berry. She didn’t seem to mind, but how often do women randomly throw themselves on men? I can’t think of any situations where that’s happened.
    The fact is, kattyben’s right: in our culture, unless a woman is screaming and pushing you away, it’s considered all right to touch her. The girl in that video was obviously shocked and horrified at what was going on; I’d bet she felt like it wasn’t really happening, or like she was having an out-of-body experience. Which is exactly how many rape victims feel.
    After reading this, I’m definitely going to be MUCH more assertive with guys I don’t want. I always have been, but now it’s even more squarely put in my mind.

  20. raginfem
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Kattyben’s point was awesome, and it made me think even more: it’s SO true that guys tend to think they are entitled to touching or kissing women’s bodies.
    I’m in college, and I can’t count the number of times a guy has come up behind me and started grinding on me without even asking permission or even frigging ASKING MY NAME. Is it really that hard to introduce oneself?
    This also made me think of when Adrien Brody won an Oscar for Best Actor & kissed Halle Berry. She didn’t seem to mind, but how often do women randomly throw themselves on men? I can’t think of any situations where that’s happened.
    The fact is, kattyben’s right: in our culture, unless a woman is screaming and pushing you away, it’s considered all right to touch her. The girl in that video was obviously shocked and horrified at what was going on; I’d bet she felt like it wasn’t really happening, or like she was having an out-of-body experience. Which is exactly how many rape victims feel.
    After reading this, I’m definitely going to be MUCH more assertive with guys I don’t want. I always have been, but now it’s even more squarely put in my mind.

  21. EG
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    it’s SO true that guys tend to think they are entitled to touching or kissing women’s bodies.
    It is true. The other day, I was walking down the street and some guy (who smelled bad, I might add) came up behind me and put his arms around me. It was very weird–I just froze, assuming that it had been a mistake, some guy not looking where he was going, bumping into me and putting his arms out and kind of around to steady himself, and waited for him to back up and start apologizing. And he didn’t! He just stood there, arms around me! What the fuck, I ask you, was that supposed to be?
    Finally I snapped out of out and threw one of his arms off me and stepped away but it took me forever. I can totally see how women get abducted because of how long it took me to process what was happening.
    Dude never even apologized.

  22. Cindermoth
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    This is monstrous. A hip-hop singer can lure a young woman onstage with the promise of a trip to Africa, simulate RAPING her instead, and because she’s fifteen years old people just say that SHE’S the liar and SHE’S at fault? I know there are misogynists about, but good God!

  23. Posted April 28, 2007 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    EG, Oh My God.
    Last night a female friend and I went out for drinks and dinner. We ended up at a hotel bar in Santa Monica — nice, lounge-y place. We got a couple glasses of wine and sat down on a comfy couch close to the bar. After a few minutes, a guy sits down near us and starts talking. My friend is much friendlier/more outgoing than I am, and I was in a good mood anyway, so we chatted with him for bit. Then he decides to move over to the couch and sit in between us and put his arms around us. Um??
    Like you, I froze. I just plain didn’t know what to do. I think it was more a moment of like, he should fucking KNOW better. I shouldn’t have to TELL him not to touch me. So I kept my hackles up, kept my body tense, and inched away from his as much as I could (he still did not take the hint). A couple other guys we’d been talking to earlier came and sat near us, and I think the guy thought they were our boyfriends, because he left pretty quickly after that.
    Which fucking pisses me off even MORE. It shouldn’t make a difference whether or not I have a boyfriend. You Don’t Get To Touch Me. Fucking asshole didn’t care until he thought we “belonged” to someone else.
    Fuck, now I need some scotch to drunk off the Angry.

  24. donna darko
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Good comment, Genny.
    Watch the video, she’s not moving, she’s not “playing” or “dancing” back with him, she’s lying on the ground, then getting swung up into the air like a rag doll, and then is thrown back onto the ground again while he’s dry humping her.
    Disturbing video. Speaking of ragdolls, the OC and Chicago gang rape cases had videos of girls who looked like ragdolls. The friend who turned in the video said she thought they were raping a corpse. Nonetheless, it took two trials to convict the OC men and the Chicago rapists got off scotfree because she refused to watch the video of her own gang rape.

  25. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    “It shouldn’t make a difference whether or not I have a boyfriend. You Don’t Get To Touch Me.”
    Oh my god this is SO TRUE. I worked in a club and would always take the late night train home. There were always guys trying to talk me into going on dates with them. Not simply asking, mind you, freaking arguing with me when I tried to reject them. That has happened so many times to me with random guys. And the only thing that seems to get them to back off is if they think I have a boyfriend. Pisses me off SO MUCH.

  26. tofutti
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Ninapendamaishi: I’ve been posting on here for awhile now, and I have made, what you would call, “relevant comments”, but you’ve never responded to those. That’s probably because I end up repeating what most people here say.
    The video is disgusting and the fact that the girl is underage makes it even worse. I do think that he probably assumed that she was older, which does happen. People always assume I’m older because I look more mature for my age. However, the video shows more than just “grinding”, it shows a man entertaining a crowd by making it look like he can use women.
    And I laughed because he looked like an idiot. I’m sorry if that bothers you, but it was my natural way to react.
    There, is that relevant enough for you? :)

  27. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    sorry… I guess your comment came off wrong to me, after some posters defending Akon and saying it wasn’t that big a deal and all.

  28. monkeyhaterobot
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Ugh.
    This just brings back gross memories of the one time I went to a disgusting dance club in my city when I was 16 or 17. The dancefloor was packd and I was grooving to the usual bump-n-grind flow. But then this guy got too close for comfort and actually grabbed my breasts, grabbed my face and forced his tongue down my throat while his buddy happily grinded me from behind.
    At that time it was before my first “official” kiss from an actual boyfriend who cared for me. I felt so violated and shocked that any man (he was either 21 or had a friend w/access to booze cuz he reeked of alcohol) felt okay to grab my breasts and face in that way.
    Ugh. I immediately shoved him away and left the dance floor *and* the club — even though my friends complained about the decision since they were having a great time. I was the driver so they did not have a choice.
    I became aware of my own sexuality and its power that evening. Sorry to say that I used and abused it after that night for years until I realized that any “real” man would want me not only for my hot body but also because I can beat them at chess or a video game.
    I think Akon should know better…to say the very least. Men *know* when they are violating a young woman in some way, especially an underage young woman. I experienced it over and over.
    That young woman may feel empowered and awesome right now because she is just opening up her sexuality. I don’t know, I’m projecting myself at 15 and I felt a lot different at the time.
    Yet I still feel grossed out even if she was 18. I just don’t think it is necessry. I don’t know…I’ve always been really torn on hip hop/rap. But I don’t think that just because it’s hip hop Akon gets a free pass.
    Overall it leaves a horrible taste in my mouth and a creepy shiver on my spine that I can’t shake.

  29. vickie wire
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    This has really made me realise how much I just tolerate men in clubs who can’t keep their hands to themselves. I guess I just don’t like conflict, but from now on I’m going tell them that what they are doing is *not* on.

  30. lbacher
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    http://hollabacknyc.blogspot.com/
    I know Feministing has linked to/been linked by Holla Back NYC before (I think that’s how I originally found this site – and now I check it religiously), but a lot of the stories about unwanted touching sound exactly what the site’s about.
    My sister was harassed on the bus this weekend by some guy repeatedly saying “You’re a nice piece of ass. Wanna do me?” She was on the phone with my mother so she could ignore her, and in her words, she “didn’t want to provoke him” by telling him to shut the hell up. I’m sending her the HollaBack link so she gets the courage next time to put that douchebag in his place.

  31. annajcook
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    As an international spin on the confrontation of casual sexual harassment, Ms. Magazine did a story in their “global” section in the recent issue, called “Don’t ‘Tease’ These Eves.” It was about protest actions that feminists are staging in India, encouraging women to stand up to men who harass them on the street. I looked at the Ms. site, but they don’t have an online version of the article :( . Be sure to check out the print copy!

  32. Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Ninapendamaishi – you wrote in response to some of my quotes:
    “Actually, being touched sexually in a way you don’t want is always criminal, at least in the United Stats.”
    — I am well aware of this having been a victim of it myself. Also, part of my point is that they WEREN’T in the US – and even so, being touched when you don’t want to be is a human right. So I’m not sure why you made this comment unless you know for sure she didn’t want to participate when I – not having super human powers – couldn’t tell.
    —In response to seeing this kind of thing in adult night clubs – your response:
    “Really? I /worked/ in a night-club and I never saw a man forcibly dry-humping a woman. If I had seen something like a man doing that or so much as repeatedly making rude comments, my job as a bouncer would have been to kick his ass out on the street…”
    —Obviously we attend different sorts of night clubs this sort and worse goes on at nightclubs. Also if you watch the video – unless all of you have some other video information to go on – the girl looks like she’s laying on the stage at the beginning with her legs spread and feet up waiting for him to start – that may not be the case but I didn’t see anybody shove her there – at the beginning she seems to be laying there waiting for the dance to begin. I don’t see her struggle or flip or try to crawl away or anybody holding her down. Then you hear somebody – SOMEBODY, I CAN’T TELL WHO – saying something like “oh my god” and then make a laughing sound and sort of a “aaahhhhh” yell or somethng – I don’t hear screams of stop or quit and when he picks her up she puts her arms around him and leans into him.
    I AM IN NO WAY SAYING SHE DESERVED TO BE MISTREATED OR TOUCHED IF SHE DIDN’T WANT TO BE TOUCHED. What I am saying is that she may have seemed more willing to him and the others there and also the folks may have had NO IDEA she was 15.
    Those things MATTER when determining if his actions were criminal or simply piggish and macho and rather gross.
    Then your wrap up was:
    “Bottom line is, doesn’t matter how promiscuous you are, 18 or 15, he was the one taking control, no vice versa. If she didn’t want it (and from both the video and her comments it appears she didn’t) it’s both disgusting AND criminal.”
    — Thanks for the “bottom line” – we agree on that and I just restated it all. As far as your “she didn’t want it” – I don’t agree with you – I don’t think it is obvious. I think there IS a question as to whether or not she wanted to be there – for starters she snuck in then joined the dance contest then APPEARED to be laying on the floor waiting for him to do his dance moves. That is all I can glean from this video and the tiny snippet of info from the article. I think that it’s easy to sit and watch a video snippet and make judgment calls when you weren’t there and you have had no chance to evaluate the surrounding circumstances.
    One has to ask themselves why she would get up on the stage and be in the dance contest and lay there if she didn’t want on some level to participate.
    Once it got out of hand and if she said stop – he should have stopped right away. No doubt about that. If he had found out her age he should have stopped even if she wanted to still participate – no doubt for me on that either.
    But I think that when women start banding together and screaming serious accusations at a person, they’d better be damned sure of the circumstances.
    If they find evidence of him doing this with underage girls and if they find evidence that she asked him to stop or witnesses who were there for the whole event who say she was scared and it was obvious she wanted to stop – then I think that he should be held accountable.
    Also – if she felt somehow intimidated into the situation by somebody – that also should be investigated. Simply complying with the dance doesn’t mean she wanted to do it – so if she said no or “I’m 15″ or please stop or anything at some point then it’s criminal as far as I’m concerned – but in that snippet I didn’t hear that, did you? Please tell me at which part so I can listen for it because I’ve watched it five times and can’t find it.
    So I am not going to sit here and convict him on that snippet of video when I can’t even tell she’s 15 and I didn’t hear he say stop and I can’t even tell if it’s HER yelling on the video or the person recording the video. I can barely see the girls face let alone tell what and if she’s saying something.
    I’m not going to stand on my feminist high horse and bash people with the girl power stick when I can’t tell if she was being “violated” or not by that snippet of video.
    Personally I think the most compelling question is what made this girl want to go to this concert – why did she join the contest – who was supposed to be watching her and keeping tabs with where she is that night and that the event took place in an ADULT CLUB – the performer (by the way, I never heard of this guy, so I don’t care who he is) KNEW he was performing at an adult establishment – don’t you think it’s fair for him to assume the patrons were of legal age?

  33. Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I also think “The Law Fairy” makes a very good point about the false “trip to Africa” prize.
    Which may have made her feel like she had to be compliant more than she wanted to – which maybe could make a case for him coercing her?

  34. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Heather,
    In her comments she said that she was confused, and didn’t really know what was going on and that her head was “smacking the ground”. I have detailed above the reasons for which it seems to me we have plenty of “evidence” to support that she didn’t want to be dancing like that. You can read them again if you missed it.
    Given her comments in particular, I would say you are essentially calling her a “lier”.
    Really though, I’ve been through this all, so I’ll let someone else address you more fully.

  35. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    oops… spelling. “liar”

  36. stellaelizabeth
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    i think your previous statements speak for themselves, ninapendamaishi. and more articulately than i could.
    i also think the argument that ‘this happens all the time at clubs’ doesn’t hold water–first of all, it does? because these moves were horizontal and i just don’t get how that would work on a bumpin dancefloor. to be fair, i don’t really ever go to dance clubs. if this IS what happens at dance clubs, thank god i’m a wallflower at low key townie bars.
    BUT also, beyond all the other reasons that i find this video so abhorrent is this question: whether the moves are sexual or a rape-ish (for lack of a better term) the fact of it being PERFORMANCE, that this dude waits for the close out of his pop hit to flop this girl around and make these motions is an aspect that i just can’t stand. whether he had her consent or not (which i REALLY don’t think he did) or whether she looked 15 or 30, performing these moves in front of an attentive audience not only makes it harder for the girl to resist, but turns his concert into more like a porn show. or, considering the nature of the acts, a staged rape fantasy.
    i wonder how it felt to be in the audience? gross.
    also, is this the same guy that’s in that gwen stefani single, doing the woo-woo’s?

  37. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    thanks stella.
    Personally, I’ve definitely seen horizontal dancing and horizontal grinding (not at clubs, but at college parties), but the dancing, the actual, genuine, mutual dancing I’ve seen, STILL doesn’t look like that video. And if you for whatever reason (or lack thereof) don’t find the video compelling, I defer to the girl’s own comments.

  38. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Regarding EG’s comments on my post:
    EG wrote: “There certainly wasn’t affirmative consent… She says that she didn’t consent. What’s the sticking point”
    The sticking point is that I think there was sufficient evidence that she was giving affirmative consent. The first thing I saw was the video (before I knew her age, etc.). What I saw was raunchy simulated sex on stage, with the male being aggressive and the female repeatedly saying “oh my god” in excited tones. A bad message to be sure, but it certainly appeared that she was signalling interest in continuing, and very clearly she never said anything that could be construed a desire to withdraw from the situation (e.g., “stop”, “no”, “I don’t like this”, etc.).
    EG then wrote: “Oh, right. The slut’s lying (insert obligatory Duke reference here).”
    This seems unnecessarily snarky, and is also not relevant to the point I was making. As I noted explicitly in my post, she could have simply been too frightened or overwhelmed in that 30 second span to effectively communicate her objection to the activities. That provides a way to reconcile her current statements with her observed statements in the video.
    As you point out, however, this situation, like the Duke situation, does bring out large groups of people who are form extreme opinions quickly. You focused on the people who automatically assume guilt on the part of the woman. I’d point out that a similar bias exists in the reverse direction – there is also a camp that is bent on perceiving guilt on the part of the male.

  39. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Regarding EG’s comments on my post:
    EG wrote: “There certainly wasn’t affirmative consent… She says that she didn’t consent. What’s the sticking point”
    The sticking point is that I think there was sufficient evidence that she was giving affirmative consent. The first thing I saw was the video (before I knew her age, etc.). What I saw was raunchy simulated sex on stage, with the male being aggressive and the female repeatedly saying “oh my god” in excited tones. A bad message to be sure, but it certainly appeared that she was signalling interest in continuing, and very clearly she never said anything that could be construed a desire to withdraw from the situation (e.g., “stop”, “no”, “I don’t like this”, etc.).
    EG then wrote: “Oh, right. The slut’s lying (insert obligatory Duke reference here).”
    This seems unnecessarily snarky, and is also not relevant to the point I was making. As I noted explicitly in my post, she could have simply been too frightened or overwhelmed in that 30 second span to effectively communicate her objection to the activities. That provides a way to reconcile her current statements with her observed statements in the video.
    As you point out, however, this situation, like the Duke situation, does bring out large groups of people who are form extreme opinions quickly. You focused on the people who automatically assume guilt on the part of the woman. I’d point out that a similar bias exists in the reverse direction – there is also a camp that is bent on perceiving guilt on the part of the male.

  40. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Now UCLA,
    If she didn’t want to be there doing those exact things and had been overwhelmed… too overwhelmed to be articulate, she by definition could not have given affirmative consent.
    Now her comments later were along the lines of “I started dancing… but I didn’t think it would be like that… my head was hitting the floor”.
    Affirmative consent refers in part to the notion that a partner has an obligation to make sure the other person wants to be doing what they’re doing, not simply to make assumptions or to not care enough to find out. The “Oh my god!” (and really, just because porn uses it doesn’t mean Oh My God is inherently sexual) was like the /last/ thing she said. She first started making noise when her head started hitting the floor -that’s when she started screaming.
    I’ll repeat: my hope is that if you, UCLA, were dancing with some girl (or guy) and started doing something that caused them to scream, you’d stop (and if the scream was just their way of expressing they were really into the dance, hey that’s a little different but they’re welcome to start dancing again). However, just in case you wouldn’t quit dancing in order to check up on the situation when someone starts screaming, I don’t think I’ll agree to dance with you either.

  41. EG
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Right. Affirmative consent means not that the girl just didn’t say no or stop, or that hey, “oh my God” could mean consent–it means that she actively and clearly gives consent. It means that the question isn’t “did she clearly object?” and if the answer is “not really,” we assume that the absence of clear, articulate objection means that she consented. It means that the question is “did she clearly, enthusiastically, articulately, and with no misinterpretation possible, consent?” And if the answer is no, you don’t assume that it’s OK with her.
    the performer (by the way, I never heard of this guy, so I don’t care who he is) KNEW he was performing at an adult establishment – don’t you think it’s fair for him to assume the patrons were of legal age?
    No. Underage kids get into adult clubs all the time. It’s been going on far more frequently, consistently, and for a much longer time than horizontal grinding has been a staple of dancing at clubs. If this guy is an experienced performer and club-goer, which you seem to be arguing he is by claiming that his dancing is normal club fare, then he’s experienced enough to know that underage kids get into adult clubs all the time.

  42. Posted April 29, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    As far as your “she didn’t want it” – I don’t agree with you – I don’t think it is obvious. I think there IS a question as to whether or not she wanted to be there
    Well, Heather, putting aside the obviousness of not wanting it, you’ve conceded that it’s not clear that she DID want it. The problem is, if it’s not clear, you (the person initiating the dancing/sex/whatever) should err on the side of making sure she clearly wants it before going ahead. As others have noted here, she did appear to consent to SOME kind of sexual dancing — but I find it really hard to believe that she consented to having her head banged on the floor and being thrown around onstage like a ragdoll. There’s no way she could have known Akon would be so violent, and Akon knew DAMN WELL what he was doing and SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE IT. Akon knew what he was going to do and should have warned her about how violent it would become, and make sure she was consenting to THAT. It is obvious from the video that HER feelings and desires were about the LAST thing on his mind. That is in and of itself a problem.
    And I really wish we could stop talking about the age issue. Let’s just pretend that she’s 18, because I don’t care if he knew how old she was or not, I don’t care who didn’t bother checking her ID, I don’t care how rebellious and evil and slutty she is for sneaking out, I don’t care how irresponsible her pastor dad was in “letting” her out (insert multiple eye rolls). None of that matters. I will pretend she’s 18. This was STILL reprehensible and STILL wrong and STILL violent and STILL horrific. I don’t give a flying fuck how old she is, I don’t care if she’s MY AGE, it was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

  43. EG
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    TLF, will you marry me?
    I think it’s because you’re usually so even-tempered and calm, but when you bust out the all-caps, I love it!

  44. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey Nina and EG,
    Thanks for clarifying the definition of affirmative consent. Certainly that would be the ideal if people can do that.
    I do wonder, however, if that should be the criteria for assault. It strikes me that in many situations it is an acceptable (and expected) norm to have sexual contact, particularly naughty club grinding, without explicitly asking your dance partner “do you mind if we do some simulated sex”? People generally rely on signals regarding how their partner’s respond to their advances, what they say when things get progressively physical, etc.
    I think it’s clear that the aggressive male simulated sex followed by discarding his partner is certainly an objectionable message. I think we can all agree on that. For the reasons I mentioned, however, I don’t see any clear evidence that Akon was committing assault.
    >>
    Never fear! First, I don’t dance. Second, if someone was screaming in a bad way, I would certainly stop. But that is the key point of contention – that many people would reasonably conclude she was signalling excitement and a desire to continue, not the other way around.
    ” However, just in case you wouldn’t quit dancing in order to check up on the situation when someone starts screaming, I don’t think I’ll agree to dance with you either.”
    That certainly seems like a reasonable action he should have taken.
    “(and really, just because porn uses it doesn’t mean Oh My God is inherently sexual) ”
    Hey! That happens in the real world too!!!

  45. Genny
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Ok, minor point, but is it the girl on stage saying “oh my god”? Because re-watching the video it sounds like it’s someone near whoever’s taping, not the girl on stage. It’s too clear and sounds like someone standing a lot closer to the mic than either person on stage. When I first saw the video I took it to be the exclamation of someone watching what was going on, not anything the girl on stage was saying.
    I could be wrong, but I don’t see the girl’s mouth moving and it really sounds like the girl saying “oh my god” is an observer, not the girl on stage with Akon.

  46. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    “It strikes me that in many situations it is an acceptable (and expected) norm to have sexual contact, particularly naughty club grinding, without explicitly asking your dance partner “do you mind if we do some simulated sex”?”
    It’s also not customary to scream. And as many people have revealed through personal stories, sometimes uninvited personal touching does happen when it shouldn’t. It still shouldn’t happen (and if people cared enough to try bringing a charge to court of sexual harassment, in many of these instances she could of)
    “Second, if someone was screaming in a bad way, I would certainly stop.”
    Also, I don’t know if your sound system is a lot worse than mine (mine is actually pretty high quality) but I give up on not just calling this one like it is. Her screams sound a lot more like a dying cat or someone in distress than they sound like your average orgasmic girl. And when in doubt, well, you already heard this from EG and me…
    “I do wonder, however, if that should be the criteria for assault.”
    It should. It would reduce the incidences of “accidental assault” in which so many people feel they have to defend the men involved. (It would also make it easier to defend women’s rights, if you care about such things…)

  47. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “(It would also make it easier to defend women’s rights, if you care about such things…)”
    What’s with people being so snarky on this board! As a regular reader / occasional poster of feministing certainly I am concerned with women’s rights. That does not mean, however, that I am obligated to have a pro-female bias. Generally I don’t post if there a strong consensus around something that everyone can agree on (e.g., the recent supreme court abortion decision is bad). But I do post when it appears people are coming to a consensus around something that doesn’t seem so crystal clear.
    “It’s also not customary to scream. And as many people have revealed through personal stories, sometimes uninvited personal touching does happen when it shouldn’t. ”
    I think that we can all agree that unwanted touching is bad. My point is that there is no clear evidence of unwanted touching. I think that someone screaming in excitement on stage while dancing in front of 100s of people is not surprising. In light of the fact that A) her actions were consistent with someone who was signalling intent AND B) she demonstrated no verbal objection to the activities, I think that the people who are suggesting that he clearly committed assault are overstating matters. I have, in my mind, reasonable doubt.
    “It should. It would reduce the incidences of accidental assault in which so many people feel they have to defend the men involved”
    While I certainly agree that it would reduce the number of assaults, I think there is a large proportion of male and female population what would not want requirements for explicit verbal consent for every action. Again, I’m not saying that Akon’s actions are worthy of emulation or support, only that there is no clear evidence that she was objecting to the activities and that her actions could be interpreted as signalling desire to continue.

  48. Posted April 29, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    When I first saw the clip my inclination was to be blaming of him. I fucking hate the grind/lapdance/girls gone wild media driven pressure girls live under.
    I was never defending his actions. I find his actions disgusting. My question was to the legality and her age or whether it was something simply repugnant or if it was actually criminal.
    You don’t seem to care about that question – you are certain he is guilty, criminally, and why bother even discussing it because you know, right?
    None of you can answer if it was criminal because all of you only have that snippet of video and the sound bite from her interview.
    I refuse to convict anybody on that because I do think there is a question as to her level of participation which raises a question as to his knowledge as to what she wanted or didn’t want.
    Either way, if I was a fan of his, once I saw that video or heard he was doing those sorts of dance moves – I would QUIT BUYING HIS MUSIC. I might even write a letter to his record label.
    Ninapendamisi – you make a lot of good points but you act as though you KNOW all of the facts and there is no possible discussion in any direction – CONVICT.
    Hopefully this WILL go to court or in the very least it will help anybody else who felt violated from the past be able to come forward or it will make him think twice as to what he is doing.
    I’ve lived long enough to know I can’t KNOW anything for a FACT from a snippet of grainy video and a short news article.

  49. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    You just aren’t interested in learning, are you?
    I think most of us who have been the victim of a serious level of sexual harassment, or sexual violence, or simply coercive (usually, not always) male sexual partners, would think that “affirmative consent” would make for a pretty cool standard.

  50. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    You just aren’t interested in learning, are you?
    I think most of us who have been the victim of a serious level of sexual harassment, or sexual violence, or simply coercive (usually, not always male) sexual partners, would think that “affirmative consent” would make for a pretty cool standard.

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

225 queries. 0.999 seconds