New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns just days after exit of top aide Melissa DeRosa ’04. The decision comes after an AG report found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women during his time in office.
Cornell defines sexual assault as “sexual intercourse or sexual contact without affirmative consent.” It defines affirmative consent as “clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity” from an individual who is neither incapacitated nor subjected to “coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm.” However, it doesn’t protect against being pressured, implicitly, into consenting. This month, Babe.net published one woman’s account of a sexual experience with comedian Aziz Ansari in which she never said no, but she never said yes, either. During that encounter, an exchange occurred that epitomizes a sexual gray area I like to call “necessity consent.”
Necessity, as defined in criminal law, is a defense for a choice made in an emergency situation to prevent the greater of two evils. Necessity consent is compliance in the face of such a choice. The accuser voiced to Ansari her feelings about being forced, and he initially responded respectfully.