As much as we would like to think that society has changed in regards to how women are treated, we still fall short. And what category do we fall especially short in? Acknowledging sexual assault. Somehow we still manage to make it incredibly hard for women to have a voice and be heard when it comes to rape. Recently, Stoya and multiple other women have come forward about how James Deen raped them. Not only rape, but some of the relationships were described as abusive – each story with similar graphic details.
However, while most industries turn a blind eye to these sort of accusations, the porn industry did no such thing. Industry leaders have begun to distance themselves and cut ties with James Deen since the allegations have come out, being confirmed over and over by numerous amounts of women. Instead of brushing off such serious brutality, the companies faced this problem head on – a lesson or two could be learned from this. The hashtag #solidaritywithstoya began trending as more and more ties got cut, including kink.com, which frequently produces BDSM content. Films that were to be released with an appearance by Deen were stopped or the scenes taken out. Temporarily or permanently? We don’t know yet.
Even before these tweets from Stoya – “That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist. That thing sucks” and “James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I can’t just nod and smile when people bring him up anymore” – people were uneasy about the ways of Deen. A couple of women in the industry, including Arabelle Raphael and Sydney Leathers, were told that they should request that they not do scenes with him. In an interview with the Guardian, Leathers explained how at a convention in 2013, she was told by a fellow performer, Joanna Angel, that“he likes to break women.”
Stoya is a part of a huge movement in the making where victims of sexual assault and rape are banding together. Finally, men in positions of power are being rightfully accused and the women who have done the accusing are being heard – men from Bill Cosby to Mike Tyson to Rick James to Jimmy Saville. While it still remains a battle to get justice, at least more people have been given the ability to share their stories. Rather than simply being haunted by nightmares while they sleep, they know that at least one person knows the truth.
While James Deen has not been officially charged with rape, the message has still been put out there. The most difficult part of this process is whether or not people will believe the allegations that Stoya and many other women have put forward. In the porn industry, a lot of people think that you are “asking for it.” But regardless of profession, no one asks to be raped. This is a subject that we should not take lightly and allow for us to see the true corruption that can be brought about by not just sexual assault and rape but other forms of violence, and abuse.
Many people still don’t understand how someone’s boyfriend or husband could rape them, especially if they’re a porn star. It’s known that most perpetrators of sexual violence prey on women in which they have some sort of relationship with, and that it’s not usually a random event (though those still do occur). As a society, we need to re-evaluate how we treat these matters instead of attempting to brush them under the rug. They won’t go away until we continue to speak out.