James Deen was accused of rape on Nov. 28. Not just one rape, but multiple rapes. Since then, other women have come forward with sexual assault accusations. It all started when Deen’s ex-girlfriend and fellow porn star Stoya tweeted this ambiguous message: “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.” The same day, she returned to Twitter and made clear any uncertainties from her last tweet: “James Deen held me down and f—ed me while I said no, stop, used my safe word. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”

Several women have come forward with sexual assault accusations against porn star James Deen and the entire porn industry has disassociated itself from him. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA

Several women have come forward with sexual assault accusations against porn star James Deen, and the entire porn industry has since disassociated itself from him. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA

After Stoya made her story known, many of her co-workers followed, accusing Deen of violent, terrifying nonconsensual acts. Some of the women who opened up about their abuse include porn actors Tori Lux and Ashley Fires, just to name a few. Many have shown solidarity with Stoya, tweeting the viral hashtag #istandwithstoya. But there is also another hashtag gaining ground: #TeamDeen, used by fans who are convinced of his innocence. In this Twitter war, many Deen fans are resurrecting some insensitive rape jokes tweeted by Stoya herself. These include internet gems such as “‘it’s not rape if you get AIDs. then it’s suicide’ ha.hahaha.’”, and “@jamesdeen ‘its not rape if you break their jaws first so they can’t tell anyone.’” It is unclear if Stoya meant these sarcastically or actually found these crude jokes entertaining, but my question remains the same. To the people arguing against Stoya’s and five other women’s rape accusations, I must ask: does insensitivity to rape mean immunity from it? Just because Stoya has tweeted some openly ignorant remarks regarding rape, does that, in turn, mean she cannot be raped? Does her ignorance make her rape any less valid?

The answer is, of course, no. And although James Deen is an oft-regarded feminist, and although much of his alleged acts happened in front of a camera crew shooting porn scenes, does that make his violence any less real? I don’t believe so. Rapists are never one stereotyped person, and neither are victims. Rape happens, and it can happen to anyone. With that in mind, Deen has yet to be proven guilty. That does not mean, however, we should discredit his accusers.

The porn industry certainly has not. In retaliation to the abuse, the porn industry has disposed of Deen “like a used condom,” as Mitchell Sunderland from Vice News so nicely put it. Deen has been dropped by companies like Doc Johnson, Evil Angel, Wood Rockett and Kink.com. Although he has yet to be proven guilty, his career in the porn industry, it seems, is entirely in shambles.

It is ironic that an industry usually associated with sleazy workers and risky jobs has done has chosen to stand with Stoya and the other women accusing Deen of assault. It makes me wonder what would happen if our own judicial system took rape accusations as seriously as the porn industry. Rape, it seems, is more believable in the business of sex than it is in the every-day world. The porn industry, it seems, is taking better care of its female workers than many universities take care of their students. But, isn’t every woman created equal? Isn’t every rape just as awful? Shouldn’t we all be like the porn industry and #standwithstoya to #standforwomen?

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