Vilification (or Reality)

I read this article once and felt absolutely disgusted by what the author presented. The porn industry has never been particularly upstanding, so this sounded like par for the course. Hypocritical assholes taking advantage of women while pretending to be in their corner — yeah, OK, sounds like the sleazier part of the human condition.

Then I got to thinking: maybe it did happen exactly as described. Maybe our imagination is also the reality of the situation. But it sounds like all we know comes from a couple of tweets by the victims and silence on the part of the offender.

It’s very easy to draw the worst possible conclusion, and it’s perfectly normal to do so. More over, even as I wondered if there was more, I saw that it really didn’t matter. No matter what actually occurred between Stoya and Deen, the woman in that encounter felt like a victim. She feels that she has been raped, and that feeling will likely haunt her for the rest of her life. This sucks! There’s nothing right or OK or just about that. It’s a horrible place to be for anyone, but especially someone in the sex trade.

Still, I want to point out that we don’t know what happened. Did Deen clear hear the safe word and chose to ignore it? Did he not hear it in the heat of passion? Did Stoya scream it loudly or whisper it into a pillow? (Again, not that it should matter — how people feel is often far removed from what happened!) No matter what happened, to simply say “yep, asshole raped innocent woman” is to simply complex, human interactions to grade-school level literature. We can’t do that, either.

We can always accept that awful things happen and take Stoya’s corner, lend our voices to her and others similarly affected, to fight for their collective rights. But we can’t do it, I think, by vilifying the other side. We’re not talking about caricatures here! We’re discussing people, all of them broken and battered because they’re human. Some of them worse than others but all of them complex and alive and sentient (and capable of both good and evil).

Fight for the rights of victims, always, but not at the cost of empathy.

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