Uma Thurman left a French charity auction Thursday feeling “violated” after an unexpected kiss from a former Fiat CEO. As Thurman hosted the Cannes Film Festival’s annual amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) auction, the Italian businessman Lapo Elkann surprised her with a kiss after winning a $196,000 bid for a Victoria’s Secret show package, according to People magazine. Afterwards, a representative for the actress said Thurman was felt “very unhappy” about the kiss, saying that “it was opportunism at its worst” and that “she wasn’t complicit in it.” Along with that, a representative for Elkann didn’t comment when reached by the New York Daily News.
So basically, she was subjected to an inappropriate, unwelcomed act by the man. She firmly expressed how disregarded she felt. Yet the representative refused to comment on the incident. How come? That action on the representative’s part shows only cowardice on Elkann. Thurman basically stated she felt sexually harassed when she was kissed by him. It was non-consensual.
When it comes to situations like this where trying to read a person’s body language, which can be a difficult grey-area. Any kind of molestation, any unwanted sexual behavior on another is constantly filled with qualms about whose fault it is. However, if the person who has been sexually advanced on was hurt by it, they should not feel deemed as though what they’re feeling is wrong. If they do not feel right, they have a right to say so. They have a right to feel and express their pain.
For those who need a reference point: This is what a yes kiss looks like.
Obviously not the same, Thurman has every right to express her upset and pain. She shouldn’t be blamed for not “stating clearly enough she didn’t want to be kissed” because she shouldn’t have to. She probably didn’t expect that he was going to kiss her. She was in a really uncomfortable situation with the man, so stating clearly “I don’t want to be kissed” might have caused some trouble or tension between them. It’s also hard to protect yourself in that situation because women don’t always want to assume that every man is after them for sexual reasons. But why should she have had to defend herself in the first place? If he could have just respected her space, she wouldn’t have had to feel hurt like she does now.
So, for those who wish to blame her for this incident, why should she feel wrong about how she feels? Why should women feel as though their pain is illegitimate because of how women are believed to be sexual creatures by habit? To those who think that way: Grow up. That reason, the idea that since women are sexual they should be blamed for another person’s wrongdoing, is old and childish. Yes, for Thurman and other people out there, it can be hard to tell others no because of how upset they’ll be. However, if they are upset, it shows a lack of decency on their part to respect you as a human being. Your safety is what matters most, more so than any other person’s pleasure.