Sunday, 6 October 2013

The douchebags who aren't willing to believe that celebrities can be rape victims

Today, shocking media reports surfaced which revealed that two of the world's richest, most recognised pop icons are victims of rape.

One of them at eight years old; the other when she was 20, trying to make it big in New York as a dancer.  While their accounts were disturbing ( - being held at gunpoint and being raped on the roof of a building), the way that some articles and netizens have dismissed these experiences as fictional, self-aggrandising, attention-grabbing ploys, have been even more so. They go even further as to insinuate that pop stars who are 'fame-whores', who act arrogant, who have built their entire careers on being 'sex icons/gods'are people that just...can't possibly be rape victims because ahem - they're sluts and morally decrepit people.

So who are they?  Madonna and Chris Brown.

Firstly, there's Madonna for the November issue of Harpers Bazaar, talking about the first year she moved to New York:

New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time. 

And all the homeless people on the street. This wasn't anything I prepared for in Rochester, Michigan. Trying to be a professional dancer, paying my rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal. I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it. But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going. 

Despite the fact that some comments have provided links to articles as early as 1995 where she has talked about the rape incident, there was an initial barrage of really horrible, really hypocritical, slut-shaming comments left on Jezebel, a well known feminist gossip & news site that usually draws a commentariat of above average literacy and intelligence:

SendMeToHelenBackAgainUDodai Stewart
I don't believe her. There is NOTHING Madonna wouldn't have done or said to get attention early in her career. If this were true, we'd have known about it for 30 years already. Friday 7:12pm

Yeah, I know it's a seriously touchy thing around here not to believe a woman when she claims she's been a victim of rape but Madonna is a total fame whore who is fading out of the spotlight, she'll do anything to stay in it and like you said, this would have come out a long time ago if it were true. Friday 7:23pm

Exactly. The break-ins, absolutely I believe. The gunpoint robbery, maybe. The rape, no.

She practically invited us inside her body with a speculum (in fact, for all I know, she may literally have done that). There's no way she would have kept quiet about this for so long. It's just a pathetic attempt to aggrandize herself - look what I've survived! How awesome I am!
Are you fucking kidding me!??!?!?  God, I just want to punch these people in the fucking face. Saying shit like that is like saying:

  • If Lady Gaga (because she's probably the modern day equivalent) had been raped when she was young but only spoke about it publicly during an interregnum in her career or after retirement, then it's automatically 1. attention grabbing and fake 2. not possible because we have seen her 99% naked in her music videos and therefore, she should have been really comfortable talking about her experience of rape (RAPE!) at all times, to a potential audience of 7 billion people  i.e. the fucking world.  Because after all, it's LADY GAGA, INVINCIBLE 'FREE BITCH' & MULTI-MILLIONAIRE CHAMPION OF THE WEIRD. NOT LADY GAGA THE HUMAN BEING who can be JUST AS VULNERABLE to assaults as any of us plebs. 
  • A stripper, a prostitute or a porn star can't be raped because they flaunt or use their bodies in a sexual way anyway and they are absolutely the DEVIL'S HEATHENS - i.e. 100% SLUT SHAMING

After this initial onslaught of 'oh my god it's Madonna, she can't be raped', were at last, some comments from some sensible readers of the same site who have called out the slut-shamers:

oblonglolUDodai Stewart
So, wait. Some of the comments here don't sit well with me.

The general sentiment seems to be: "She loves attention, obviously she couldn't have been raped."
That makes no fucking sense. Everybody can be raped. Everybody, including people who get naked on TV. Jesus Christ. Friday 8:36pm

Yes, this. For fuck's sake, sex workers get raped all the time. Wanting attention is not mutually exclusive to getting raped. Friday 8:54pm

I know, right? Especially given that she was working as a nude model and a dancer, I can totally believe she knew exactly how problematic it would be to even try to report it to the police back in the day. Friday 9:55pm

I could imagine someone as she, who had begun her career as someone wanting to champion women as powerful and so forth, not feeling so psyched about sharing this with anyone, let alone the world, let alone at that time, and let alone when it's a benchmark of women's victimization.

But to question the veracity as others have done? Egads, that's troublesome and sad and indicative yet again, of why women don't want to give voice to this crime.

Most vindicating is this 1995 NME interview with Madonna:
Madonna grimaces and falls silent.
Would you rather stop talking about this? 
“I don’t want to talk about it only in that…” she pauses, choosing her words carefully, “I don’t want to get into this Oprah Winfrey/Sinead O’Connor thing of, ‘Oh, everybody, all these horrible things have happened to me!’ I don’t want to make it an issue. I think that I’ve had what a lot of people would consider to be horrific experiences in my life. But I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because I don’t.

So there you go.  Fucking hell.
I just can't believe that Jezebel - a site that's so infamous for its feminist readership, has come up with this shit storm of what is essentially victim-blaming; and for perpetuating this entrenched disadvantage/problem  - that rape victims have to constantly deal with social judgments on their past sexual experiences, their past behaviour, their 'inclination' to get in bed with someone (things that have been banned from being taken into account in rape trials btw), and even be accused of making fake rape claims.  UGH.  
GET IT INTO YOUR BRAINS, slut-shaming is wrong because:
  • a woman could be walking naked on the beach but that doesn't excuse a man from running over there and raping the heck out of her. 
  • I could be wearing a mini-skirt while taking pt but I'm not asking men to stick their hand up my skirt and feel me up. 
  • Even if a girl is at a club, in a barely-there dress, grinding up on you with flirty eyes on show, and a little bit tipsy, that's NEVER AN EXCUSE for you to assume, even if you guys have kissed, that she wants your penis inside her.  Because rape is humiliating, violating, could impregnate the victim and is likely to stigmatise her forever depending on her values and cultural background.  Not to mention that it could leave physical, and definitely mental scars. No woman asks for rape.
  • Discussion about 'how a woman should dress' is a different fucking thing to 'how to prevent rape'. The former is about standards of propriety and freedom of choice and expression, while the latter is about stopping men from doing rape because it's goddamn fucking obvious that when a woman gets raped, it's the man who's in control.  So stop the man, not the woman.  ffs

But if I thought what people have said about Madonna was bad, holee furkin' crap... the Chris Brown article on Jezebel was 1000000000000000000000000000x worse.  
Before I go on, I realise that a lot of people really hate CB as a person. He's bashed Rihanna and thrown chairs at people so he's not exactly a person that's easy to sympathise with.  
But anyway, criticism where it is valid, and sympathy where it is necessary too. We can hold multiple opinions of Chris Brown at the same time, for he is probably as complex as the rest of us.  - a Jezebel commenter
But people need to realise that this is a very different case.  A male rape victim case.  Meaning that if you take into account the overwhelming social expectations that are placed on male superstars (especially rappers and whatnot who explicitly channel masculinity into their art) as well as his childhood - watching his mother get beaten to a bloody pulp, having admitted that he once wanted to kill his stepfather - then it is really inappropriate for the writer to be glossing over his story (even if CB was uber cocky about it) with a nonchalant, yep haha CB trying to portray himeslf as 'some sort of mythical sex Jesus'... what a cunt.
The fact is that he lost his virginity when he was EIGHT to a 14/15 year old girl - WHAT????Can't Doug Barry (the writer of the Jezebel article) see that this is something extremely extremely ... disturbing and wrong???
I mean - that's statutory rape that he just accidentally admitted to. HE WAS EIGHT.
This is a kid who is eight.
If a female actress/singer came out and said 'yeah haha I mean I was watching porn at a really young age, I lost my virginity when I was eight to a fifteen year old guy, so yeah I guess I was really mature ya know.'
I feel like because CB is a guy, and because he's done some stupid shit in the past, and because he was vaunting about his first time like it was a huge achievement - that people just completely forget the fact that 1. that's statutory rape 2. there is a reason why he's kind of fucked up right now.  
And of course, there is a good goddamn reason why laws are enacted to criminalise people who have sex with children below a certain age, or people who groom children for sex by supplying them with porn. Because they're CHILDREN. There is a huge power imbalance between them: being too young to understand what's happening, too weak to say no etc.
Comments from the original interview on The Guardian:

He lost his virginity when he was eight years old, to a local girl who was 14 or 15. Seriously? "Yeah, really. Uh-huh." He grins and chuckles. "It's different in the country."
Omfg, what did I just read???????? Bloody disturbing. I couldn't get passed that part. Eight year old with a 14/15 year old! WTF.

Excuse me?
He and his gang were addicted to porn. At eight. He was 'raring to go'.
You cannot apply only one analysis to every situation. This was not an innocent 8 year old who was seduced by his kindergarten teacher and went home crying to his mummy.

Try replacing what you wrote with 8 year old girl and think how disturbing what you wrote is

Can you hear yourself?
Sexual abuse is only sexual abuse if the victim is innocent? I'd consider it highly disturbing that 8 year old boys were accessing enough porn at that age to get addicted. That's just grooming by another name.
Blame Chris Brown for beating Rihanna and being so unrepentant about it. But it's beyond words to blame an 8 year old for their sexual abuse and perpetuate this hierarchy of victims where some are more deserving of sympathy than others.

On Jezebel:

ZombieCateUDoug Barry
Chris Brown has a singular talent for making it impossible to sympathize with him even if he’s recounting a vaguely traumatic incident from his childhood. You know, like that time he lost his virginity to teenage girl. When he was eight.

Is this a joke? Did Jezebel really just publish a story that tries to make a victim the villain of their own sexual abuse? I get that CB is an asshat and an abuser. I get that he's full of shit. But he just admitted to being RAPED and you used it as an excuse to say that he thinks he's awesome?
Let me tell you how the narrative would go if this were a white guy with CB's history. Let's say Charlie Sheen:
"Well this explains a lot about his previous behaviour. It's obvious that he's internalized the idea that sex makes a man powerful and is something that all men aspire to all the time. Sheen's abuse reveals interesting points about the way he views masculinity, power and dominance, and hints at why he feels the need to surround himself with porn star girlfriends. His abuse may have cemented the idea that sexual activity was the only way to demonstrate his manhood, spiraling into other damaging beliefs about masculinity and dominance over women."
NOT "What a dick! He thinks he's awesome for having sex at 8. Asshole."
Seriously? Fuck this Jezebel. Yesterday 3:45pm

I need not say more.

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