Incident involving Ariana Grande shouldn’t be another lesson learned

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin spelled out the word “respect” in the 1960s, so we shouldn’t still be doing the same today?

Franklin’s name has stood as an icon for centuries. She fought for civil and women’s rights, and her work drove those values home even further. It seems almost unimaginable that at the funeral of the woman who sang “Respect,” a hashtag trended with the same word because respect was so clearly lacking.

At Franklin’s funeral, singer and actress Ariana Grande performed her own rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” After the performance, she appeared onstage and stood next to Pastor Charles H. Ellis III.

He then proceeded to mock her name, grope her side and squeeze her tightly.

The face you just made when you read that is probably the same face Grande made onstage. The awkward grimace you’re trying to get off your face is the same one she tried to brush aside as well.

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The media reaction poured in. On Twitter, women from around the world all chimed in, saying they know this feeling all too well. Celebrities and citizens spoke out, saying we see this all too often.

But not everyone got it.

An astonishing amount of reactions on social media pointed to the length of her dress as an invitation to the act.

That seems like the oldest excuse in the book at this point, but evidently, it’s still not clear.

What you wear and how you speak are never invitations to a non-consensual act.

It is not for the general public to speak on behalf of Grande. She has yet to make a comment on the incident, and a question has been raised about whether it’s ethical to continue sharing the picture of her in an uncomfortable position without her permission.

This concern is undoubtedly valid. But with the blatant continual lack of basic understanding among the public of consent and appropriate behavior, there is a need to highlight this case.

It should not take the public funeral of someone like Franklin to finally and fully convey an understanding of a basic principle.

We don’t — or rather we shouldn’t — need another trending hashtag or another media-frenzied story when it comes to assault and harassment.

We need our education to be better and stronger at younger ages. Basic personal space and knowing to respect both men and women should be taught during childhoods.

We need to better equip our friends and family with the tools and skills to stop these events from occurring. Being the one to take initiative in situations like this should be the norm.

Because at this point, we already know that this shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

Hayley is a senior in ACES.

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