Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ahh, to be famous...

**Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault, rape and victim blaming**

What do the President of the IMF, the former Governor of California, an information 'freedom fighter' and a Hollywood Director have in common? Why, sexual assault of course!

I know what you're thinking. "No, no Ms. FC, you mean sexual assault accusations." Ahh yes, pardon me! Rape accusations thrown at famous men because womyn are opportunistic whores. Ahh yes, my bad.

So the President of the IMF, Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) has been arrested on charges of at least 1 sexual assault of a hotel room cleaning staff. He's also been accused of sexually assaulting at least 1 journalist a few years ago. In fact, Mr. DSK was known as being quite the 'charmer'.

Then you've got the Governator himself who is not only filing for divorce from his Democratic wife Maria Shriver over allegations of cheating (and fathering a 'love child'), he also has a well documented history of being well... grabby.

Julian Assange was accused of sexually assaulting two womyn, but we all know that didn't happen because he's a lefty who wants to take down the greedy government, so it's clearly all just a big old conspiracy to take him down.

And Roman Polanski? Look dude might have anally raped a young girl that he had plied with drugs, but her mom shouldn't have let her come over anyway and it was such a long time ago. Plus, have you seen Chinatown? Cinematic gold!

FYI - This list fails to include athletes, although we could easily talk about Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, and Check-Out-Photos-Of-My-Dick Brett Favre.

See, when it comes to sexual assault, you're pretty much off the hook to begin with, but if you happen to be famous? You're in the clear, my dear!

Every time these 'scandals' come out, we hear the same victim-blaming bullshit, we have other 'celebrities' coming out to 'support them' and we have this whole conspiracy theory machine that states that they're being unfairly scrutinized because they're rich and famous.

To which I say - so what?

Why are we appalled that Paris Hilton only spent a few days in jail for drinking and driving but we're downright infuriated that DSK's case is being investigated at all?

Sexual assault, unlike most crimes, is rife with stereotypes. There are stereotypes around who commits sexual assault, who is actually sexually assaulted, who 'cries rape', etc.

According to the myths, who commits sexual assaults? Well, old men with mental illnesses, of course! They are always strangers to the victim in question, have some sort of sick sexual fetish and in many cases are a person of colour/Queer/disAbled, etc.

Does that mean that never fits the profile? Absolutely not. But the % of people who sexually assault who fit this very narrow and specific profile is slim.

And because we continue to perpetuate this same sadistic bullshit, we are equally appalled by the profile of the rapist as we are by the crimes themselves.

Need I remind you of Colonel Russell Williams? People were SHOCKED that a decorated Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces committed such heinous crimes and yet, it makes perfect sense. Here is a man with ample amounts of power who leads a secretive life where people who know him fully understand that they don't really know him. Not to mention how he was trained to do just that.

And because we continue to perpetuate the stereotype of who is a rapist we continue to victim blame those who are assaulted by someone who doesn't 'fit the profile', because we just don't believe someone like them could do something like that.

Newsflash, skeptics: Rapists come in every size and flavour. They are decorated military colonels, actors, directors, governors, weight lifters, city councillors, janitors, fathers, sons, cousins, colleagues and people of every background, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, ability and sexual orientation.

Maybe we don't want to believe this because it's too scary to think about. Maybe we want to believe that rapists are easy to spot so that we can sleep better at night, knowing that our radar is on the right people. But this isn't helping anybody.

This mentality is blaming womyn unnecessarily, it's framing men of colour/queer men/ disAbled men/ poor men as sexual predators and it's allowing rich, entitled, privileged piece of shit dudes walk away, consequence free.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world in which we let people get away with sexual assault just because they wear a nice suit and have cushy bank accounts. I gotta believe that we are better than this.

** I'm willfully interchanging the words sexual assault and rape here just for the sake of being concise **

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