…but I wrote about them anyway, scary as they are.
**Trigger warnings all up in this biz.**
In the wake of the many allegations of rape, assault, and misconduct leveled against James Deen in recent weeks (as of my last count, there are now eleven women who say he violated their consent on and off camera), the adult entertainment industry has been reeling. And, sort of terribly yet sort of awesomely, so has much of the rest of the world. The allegations begun by Stoya and followed up on by victim after victim have set off a full-force shitstorm in the media. Some of it has been great, like the fact that most people in and out of the porn industry have chosen to believe and support the victims rather than siding with a powerful man, marking a change in the way assault victims and in the way that sex workers are treated by the larger sphere. But some of it has not been so great, in that these many allegations are bringing a lot of unsavory details to light in the way that things can go down on a porn set, or off of a porn set (as the once-every-107-seconds-someone-is-raped statistic clearly shows us).
I’ve written two articles on these subjects. I am terrified that people will be angry about either or both of them. This topic is scary, as a survivor myself and as a person who has, you know, a soul. Doing the research and interviews for these pieces was awful, and my heart goes out to the people who lived through these brutal experiences, who are now watching those traumas writ large in the media. I don’t want to reduce or make light of anyone’s pain. But I’m also proud to be part of a conversation that needs to happen, and I hope that my reporting will lend a few more voices–via the people I interviewed–to the vital process of advancing a culture of consent.
So. Here goes.
**Trigger warnings in both of these articles. Frank quotes and discussion of sexual assault throughout.**
- I wrote for Refinery29 on how the adult industry’s quickness to stand with victims and cut ties with Deen should be a model for all other industries and communities to support victims and foster a culture in which victims feel confident that they will be heard, rather than shamed or silenced.
- And I reported for Bitch on how the industry has tried to promote consent in the past–and sometimes failed, obviously, in the case of Deen–as well as how it’s looking to the future to try to make things better. I spoke to numerous members of the adult industry and researched other journalism on these topics, trying to put other people’s words on display rather than my own in the hopes of promoting the voices of those who know far more than I do about these topics. The process of writing this article was extremely painful; I’m one of those who likes to be optimistic, to point out the good stuff whenever possible. It’s important to me not to add to stigma or stereotypes about sex work, so I tend toward the sunny side. But in writing this I had to face a lot of darkness, and I also had to admit that pretending the darkness isn’t lurking on the other side of the light doesn’t help anything. Sometimes we all have to look into the shadows.
So. There you go, everybody.A huge thank-you to everyone who was willing to talk to me in the slimy gross aftermath of these awful events!
I think I’ll go hide now. With all the lights on.