Who's Being the Face for That?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rape shield laws are a sad necessity - borne from the classic defense of putting the victim on trial. This defense attempts to suggest that the victim was somehow responsible for her rape. A tactic that has been successful in the past due to rape myths perpetuated in the community; the most rampant rape myth is victim blaming. Bublick (1999 p1433) describes it this way:
According to the defendants, she is forever doing the wrong thing when a man is trying to rape her. She does not run soon enough, or far enough or fast enough.
Most of the thinking world now recognize this antiquated notion as a pathetic attempt to justify the criminal's behavior. However, rape crisis centers continue to warn of the dangers of subscribing to these beliefs. The New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre describes the dangers as follows:
* Make the rapist's actions less risky
* Make it harder for the victim to find support or get the police to act
* Make it harder to prosecute the rapist
* Make it harder for the victim to recover.

Rapists benefit from these beliefs.

Thus, it would be disturbing for anyone to support these beliefs - but when it comes from a registered sex offender, it is even more frightening. Colby Orthman is a registered sex offender and son of sex offender activist Jacquelyn Horst.

Quite frankly it is impossible to understand Colby's story because each time either Jacquelyn or Colby relay it, it changes. What is known is that Colby served time and has to register as an offender due to a sexual picture found on a cell phone of Colby and a minor female. I will not speculate here as to which story they have relayed is the truth.

Recently Colby appeared on the podcast "Americans Reality Check" hosted by Mary Duval and Kevin Meier to discuss 'sexting' and its consequences. He shared his perception of his experiences and captured the hosts imaginations with wild accusations as to the content of his therapy sessions while in prison.

When pressed by the hosts to elaborate on this subject, Colby explained further:

The Burning Bed was based on the true story of Francine Hughes - the first woman in the United States to be found not guilty of murder due to battered woman syndrome. There was absolutely no sexual content in this movie - it was made for television in 1984. A synopsis of the movie

"Fawcett plays a small-town housewife and mother of three who's pushed to the brink by her husband's mental and physical torture. With no resources and no way out, this mom will take a shocking stand to save herself and her kids. Based on Faith McNulty's book, this story helped bring battered woman syndrome into the spotlight."

Now please listen again to what was said and by whom:

Dare I ask - WHO could find this film pornographic? What kind of sadistic person could find the torture of another person erotic? Moreover, how does posing for Playboy relate to an actress's ability to star in a movie about domestic abuse?

The only ostensible explanation to me is that they want to perpetuate the victim-blaming rape myth. Colby Orthman and everyone who agreed with him is suggesting that you should judge Farrah Fawcett in the same way that defense attorneys want you to judge the victim. They want you to buy into the myth that victims have to look and act a certain way - otherwise they can't be victims....or even portray their struggles.

Society often judges victims of rape in a way that would be considered completely unacceptable with a victim of any other type of violent assault (see The Rape of Mr Smith). As one author stated, it equates to suggesting that a hold-up victim 'asked for it' by carrying money in their pocket.

Would Colby, Kevin and Mary have felt that Fawcett couldn't "be the face" of a mugging victim? A murder victim? Of course not.

So why then is she disqualified from portraying a rape and abuse victim? These sex offenders/sympathizers are clearly tying Fawcett's portrayal of a victim to a behavior - the very foundation of victim blaming.

They are "being the face" for the perpetuation of rape myths. This is UNACCEPTABLE and not exactly the smartest position a sex offender could take - what it suggests to reasonable people is that you're on a registry/have a family member on a registry for a very good reason and we shouldn't let you/your family member off it any time soon.
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