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.
— Stoya (@stoya)November 28, 2015
James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can't nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.
— Stoya (@stoya) November 28, 2015
In subsequent days after those two tweets, other women came forward with the same claim. James Deen raped them. The internet does what the internet always does. It broke down into two camps: those who believed and supported Stoya and the other women, and those who didn’t.
Of course, some of those who didn’t took it as an opportunity to slam porn and sex work with outrageous beliefs that because someone has sex for money, they can’t have boundaries and aren’t allowed to say no. Others simply refused to believe that someone attractive and admired can possibly be guilty of rape. It’s all a little sad, but none of it is surprising.
Let’s look at some statistics about rape, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
Some will use this as proof that rape doesn’t really happen all that much or whatever does happen isn’t “really rape.”
In fact the reasons victims (I won’t say “women” because men can be raped too) don’t come forward is because of what the public does to them. In no other crime (think murder, theft, etc.) do we ask the victim what they did to deserve it. But when someone says they’ve been raped, we ask what they were wearing, why they were there, how much they’ve had to drink, and how many other sex partners they’ve had. To top it off, if a rape victim goes so far as to call the police, report it, repeat the story multiple times to various levels of speculations and disbelief from others, and go through cold procedure of having a rape kit done, that rape kit may sit untested in storage for months or years.
Knowing all this, why in the hell would anyone willingly come forward about their rape? Those working in the porn industry have it even harder because of the false belief that what you see on your TV (or computer screen) is always completely real. The thinking goes that if those people have sex for money, they’ve become public property, they’re sluts or whores anyway, and anything that happens to them can’t be rape.
Wrong, wrong, fucking wrong.
The big conversation in the sphere of sex these days is consent. Those of us who prefer it kinky talk about it a lot. College campuses are finally spending a little more time discussing it. Hell, consent has been simplified down to the level of comparing it to a cup of tea.
No one has the right to pick and choose when consent matters or not. If a person says, indicates, or mumbles a “no” of some sort, gives a funny look, shakes their head, or simply doesn’t given an enthusiastic “Yes!” you don’t have consent. Bottom line. End of story. It doesn’t matter what they do for a living - factory worker or porn star.
I think what makes it worse between Stoya and Deen (from my perspective) is that, according to her tweet, she used her safeword and he ignored it. In the kink world that’s one of the worst things you can do. A “no” can get confused with dirty talk, role play, and kinky fun, but a safeword is supposed to be inviolable. It’s one of the basic parts of safe, sane, and consensual.
Okay, lessons on basic rape statistics and consent are over. Let’s get back to Stoya and James Deen. I “discovered” porn around 2012 or 2013. I knew it existed before, it simply wasn’t on my radar. Prior to that, whenever I watched porn, I giggled and made fun of what I saw to hide my discomfort.
And then I discovered Stoya.
The first clip of porn I saw with her was on Tumblr (ahhh, good old Tumblr). It was filmed in such a way and she looked so young to me that I thought it was a homemade video. Her smile and the sparkle in her eye made me want the sex she was having as much as she seemed to.
Later, I would see in her clips of BDSM porn, and I was really hooked. At the same time, I was seeing James Deen for the first time. Holy hell, that man could fuck, and with one look, came across the screen as a complete alpha male, the kind of Dominant a girl could get off on. I wanted him as much as I wanted to be like Stoya.
When I heard they were a couple and saw them together on screen, I would smile. Anyone who’s watched porn has seen the scenes with the fake moans, the sad dialogue, and the plastic kind of finish that tells you it’s completely fake. Not with Deen and Stoya. To me, that was real, and it was exactly what I wanted.
In the aftermath of Stoya’s tweets and James Deen’s denial, but before Tumblr eviscerated him, GIFs and images of Deen with other women and Stoya were still showing up in my feed. My initial reaction was one of desire and interest. My body hadn’t caught up with what my brain knew.
Here we are, months later, and the more I read about Stoya and other people’s experiences with James Deen and the less I see him when I’m looking through pictures, GIFs, and video, the less I want to see him. When an old shot comes across my dash, I shudder with revulsion. When I heard he actually won a couple of awards at the AVN Awards (often referred to as the Oscars of Porn), I was a little disheartened. He didn’t receive any at the XBIZ awards, though. Of course, a few weeks later, and Deen’s getting more acting jobs and seems to be back on the rise - with his new girlfriend by his side.
I believe Stoya and the other accusers. I think they stand to lose a lot more than they could gain by making an accusation of rape. The few minutes of “fame” they received can’t possibly make up for an industry that could (if it chose) shun them or for the ridicule and mocking from people who don’t respect sex work in the first place, let alone believe rape is possible - all of that is the risk and burden they have to take to speak their truth. For that reason alone, I believe them.
James Deen and Stoya are no longer my #relationshipgoals heroes. Stoya is still my hero for the unmitigated joy she exudes in her movies, her no-bullshit writing, her ability to expand beyond the world of porn, and her bravery in speaking her truth. Deen? To me, he’s no longer worthy of comment.
Kayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. Follow her on her website or on Twitter @Kaylalords.
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