On the Importance of Consent

Our personal philosophy in business, and in life, is to “do no harm.”

When Rayne, a blogger committed to educating others about BDSM, approached us with this piece, we felt that it was important to share.

Consent, which ultimately boils down to respect, is a critical element of any relationship. Rayne explores the importance of consent in the context of the James Deen rape accusations. Though we prefer to give the victims the benefit of the doubt, no formal charges have been laid and there are no standing convictions. For this reason, the qualifier "alleged" has been included in regards to the actions of Deen.

While the opinions expressed are those of Rayne, we think that the message is an important one. 

Do no harm.

It was the tweet heard 'round the adult industry. 

“James Deen held me down and fucked me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I just can’t nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.” 

What followed were more accusations from other women, including (but not limited to) Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, T.M., Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, Joanna Angel, Bonnie Rotten, Bree Olsen, and Farrah Abraham. Then a few men spoke up about things they'd witnessed on and off set, calling Deen's everyday behavior "creepy" and "sadistic".

Deen denied the allegations on Twitter, saying that he respects women and consent. And on December 8th, The Daily Beast published an email interview (link no longer available in which Deen gave “his side.” 

And I’ve gotta say, Deen’s statement is full of deflection and spin and excuses that are just as worrisome as the allegations he faces.

In a twist everyone saw coming, Deen basically blames the industry for his actions. He says that if it happened on set, he was just following instructions from the directors. And, in an attempt to avoid blaming his accusers, Deen says what isn’t true is made up by the media in almost every case...except Stoya’s. Stoya is outright lying. She’s vengeful and angry, and just not over him, says Deen.

Deen says, “There are public articles all over the internet, written by [Stoya], that make the exact opposite claims. She discusses how we communicated and how we were very careful with consent especially when involved with rough sex.”

I’m going to assume that the articles Deen is referencing were authored before the alleged sexual assault, so it makes sense that they painted Deen in a good light. He hadn’t violated the rules of consent yet.

Of course, it’s possible I’m wrong. But even if Stoya did write some of the articles after the attack is alleged to have taken place, it’s not unusual for a survivor of sexual assault to keep the assault secret. It’s not unusual for them to stay with their attacker. It’s not unusual for them to deny the attack, defend the attacker, and even go so far as to convince themselves that there was no attack, even when there are witnesses. An article making a rapist out to be a good person, and written by the rapist’s victim, would not be outside the realm of possibility.

Deen goes on to say that Stoya’s allegations are most likely motivated by the fact that he and his girlfriend, porn star Chanel Preston, were planning to move in together. He holds up the fact that a film produced by and starring him was featured on Stoya’s website as proof that he did nothing untoward. And he even went so far as to give the media previously unreleased footage of him and Stoya that shows him respecting her boundaries—which, honestly, just came across as an attempt to victimize Stoya further.

“As far as these other claims,” Deen says, “at a certain point I feel like people have to step back and analyze this stuff in context. Most of these are descriptions of things on BDSM or rough sex sets. When I am on set I am under instruction of the company who is paying me. I could describe the events of the scene I was in the other day and it could be just as dramatic.”

When asked about T.M.’s allegations, Deen states, “This party mentioned is an invitation-only BDSM swinger’s party in Vegas,” as if that fact gave him the right to grab whoever he wanted and have sex with them.

On the allegations made by Kora Peters, Deen says, “months after the scene in question was shot she performed in an anal scene with me for my company,” as if turning down a scene with someone as powerful in the industry as Deen was at the time wouldn’t end a career.

Deen plainly states that his violation of Nikki Blue can’t possibly be a violation because, “There is photographic evidence that was posted on her own Tumblr page showing other employees of Kink.com performing these acts on her.”

But here’s the thing: that’s not how consent works.  It doesn’t matter if you’re at a kinky party. You still have to get consent from anyone you touch. Period.

It doesn’t matter if a woman has willingly had anal sex with you a thousand times. If she said no that one time you forced her, you raped her. Period.

It doesn’t matter if a woman has let the entire world piss in her mouth. You don’t get to do it unless and until she says you can. Period.

And yes, James, it is still rape if you yell surprise.

I don’t believe for a second that James Deen doesn’t understand how consent works. I don’t believe that he doesn’t know that just because a woman gave consent for a sex act with someone else doesn’t mean he’s allowed to do it without first garnering consent for himself.

No, I think that he’s very clear on how consent works and what rape culture looks like. His very carefully worded statement proves that unequivocally. In every answer, he strategically used components of rape culture in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Hate to break it to you, James. You only succeeded in making yourself look worse.

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