Daily WTF: Brushing Aside the James Deen Rape Accusation

I am an avid fan of Erika Moen’s web comic Oh, Joy, Sex Toy! (NSFW) which is about sex education, body positivity, sex positivity, and basically having as much safe, sexy fun with your body, toys, and others as possible. On my own, I don’t consume porn or know anything about sex toys (I was also startlingly uninformed about my own body, yeesh.), so I rely on Erika and her guest cartoonists to tell me about the porn industry, fun sites, and fetishes.

That’s where I learned about James Deen, a prominent porn star who was recently accused of raping several women, including former co-stars and ex-girlfriend Stoya. Stoya had recently accused Deen of raping her, saying he “held me down and [fucked] me while I said no, stop, used my safeword.” Three other women quickly followed suit.

Immediately, Erika and her husband Matt publically announced they would no longer be supporting Deen and have edited their posts including him to let people know they don’t support him. They’re part of a growing list of people who are doing so, including porn veteran Joanna Angel, online publication The Frisky, and Project Consent, which had interviewed Deen.

And yet, there are some people who don’t think this is a big deal. Look on any thread, and you’ll see at least one person saying Deen could still fuck them, another saying that women cry rape all the time, a third saying that he should be assumed innocent until proven guilty, and many, many others claiming that Deen couldn’t have raped any of his victims because they’re sex workers.

First off, women don’t cry rape all the time; false rape accusations account for only 2 – 10% of all accusations (with most people agreeing on the 2%). Most rapes also don’t go reported with the number of unreported rapes ranging from 60 – 90% of all rapes. So it is very, very rare that a person will even report their rape much less that they will report a false rape.

Secondly, a person is always in charge of their body regardless of the situation. If at any point, a person tells you to stop, you have to stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re balls deep in them or on the set of a movie or just paid for a blowjob. If the person says, “Stop,” you have to stop – otherwise, you will violate their bodily autonomy and commit rape. It’s as simple as that.

Third, it’s not inappropriate to distance yourself from someone who has been accused of rape. Is it a very nice thing? No, but rape isn’t a very nice thing either. And, given how rare false accusations are and how often celebrities like Bill Cosby and Curtis Lepore are shown to have actually committed the crime, it seems very, very likely that a person accused of rape will be shown to have committed it. You are right to be skeptical of them.

Finally, it’s just ridiculous how quick we are to play devil’s advocate in favor of an accused rapist. People have no problem saying that the victim deserved it based on her dress, alcohol consumption, location, and job, essentially dragging them through the mud, but they can’t conceive that the person accused could have done it – even when they admit it. This is harmful and contributes to the 60 – 90% of rapes not being reported figure.

So, if you’re going to comment on this, take a brief moment to consider not James Deen’s feelings but the feelings of Stoya, Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, and Deen’s other victims. Imagine how it would feel to be violated and then have the world tell you that your violator wasn’t that bad and that you are the horrible person for mentioning the fact that he committed a crime. Imagine how horrible that must feel, and try to develop a smidge of empathy. Victims should also be presumed innocent.

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