By the Editorial Board
Finally, after so many men accused of sexual assault and misconduct, one man owns up to his mistakes right away. A week ago on Friday on Nov. 9, Louis C.K. released a statement confirming the allegations against him. These reports, released on just a day before his statement, outlined multiple stories from five women who said that Louis C.K. had masturbated in front of them in various settings. In most of the cases, he asked before he made any move, and in most of the cases, the women did not say no. Some even explicitly said yes. Because of this, people are asking if what happened can even be considered sexual assault
However, when one chooses to look at the situation closer, it becomes clear that what Louis C.K. did was sexual assault, irrefutably so.
In his statement, Louis C.K. writes: “I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. 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.”
In an unprecedented move, Louis C.K. is actually right about something. The power he had over every women he mistreated and who came forward, was not physical, emotional, or financial. He didn’t overpower anyone, he did not emotionally manipulate anyone, and he did not bribe anyone, but he did use the knowledge that these women looked up to him to get exactly what he wanted: more power.
While it might seem like the motivations for his actions and the actions of his fellow powerful men who have assaulted vulnerable men and women are driven by the need to be pleasured or to pleasure others, this is not the case at all. In reality, sexual assault and rape are all about power. If Louis C.K. wanted to experience sexual pleasure by masturbating in front of a woman, he could have hired a sex worker and paid her to let him do just that. He could have even asked her to pretend that she didn’t want him to be doing it. The transaction would be have been complete, the worker would have been paid, and Louis could have gone home satisfied. However, he had to have the real thing; he needed to corner women who he knew could be cornered and engage in an action that would further heighten his feeling of being in charge. Louis C.K. has power over women and he wanted them to know it.
When one looks at Louis’ past comedy routines, shows, and movies, there is a disturbing amount of masturbaton miming that can be found. Perhaps it is insignificant that he assaulted women in this way and and also chose to put the exact scenarios in his routines, but in reality, the reflections in his acts point to a man trying to hide. They point to a man aware of the wrong he has done and the harm he has caused others.
Unfortunately, his remorse cannot undo what he has done, and the women he assaulted will always be haunted by what his thirst for power drove him to do. Thankfully, the women can begin to heal after they have finally been offered a sincere, well-constructed apology from a man who is known for being insincere. Sexual misconduct is no joke, and Louis C.K. is certainly not laughing anymore.