By Brian Richards | Social Media | March 8, 2023 |
By Brian Richards | Social Media | March 8, 2023 |
WARNING: This article contains discussion of sexual assault and physical abuse against women. If you believe that reading this will trigger you in any way, please do not proceed any further. We suggest reading something more pleasant instead, like Kaleena’s recaps for Ted Lasso. They’re a fantastic read, and they’ll catch you up on what happened in Season 2 before Season 3 starts next week.
Last week, actress Jena Malone shared this photo on her Instagram page with a caption revealing that shortly after she had completed her last day of filming as Johanna Mason on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, she was sexually assaulted by one of her colleagues on that film.
As you can tell from the caption, Malone never identifies her assailant. However, when one commenter on her post stated that he was allowed to walk away without suffering any consequences for his actions, Malone set the record straight and responded. “That’s not true. I used restorative justice to allow healing and accountability and growth with the other person. It was a hard process but one i believe truly helped me move thru some of the hardest parts of the grief.”
She also replied with this comment to someone who questioned Malone’s choice on how to recover from her sexual assault, as well as her decision to not report the incident to the police:
“One day I will try and write out the process I used but I’m not quite ready yet. Just so you know, I didn’t read any books but know there are so many online. I did do a lot of online research. What lead me there was feeling not held by ” outing” someone using the traditional cancel like culture that has been created. I also don’t fully see how the criminal justice system could fully repair my healing, though I do believe it can help in many ways. It all lead me to using restorative justice , basically a system of repairing harm, to speak to the other party involved and make requests of my healing journey and really just be heard. It wasn’t perfect and I’m sure I could have used the help of the many teachers out there who practice restorative justice in mediation settings. I felt I needed to do it alone I guess. I hope that answers your question.”
(For those of you who would like a more detailed explanation as to what restorative justice is, click here.)
There were many who saw Malone’s post on Instagram, and offered her words of comfort and support, with some of them sharing their own experiences with sexual assault. Then there were others who felt sympathetic to Malone’s plight, but were confused and even upset as to why she wouldn’t identify her assailant and let the world know who they are. Some of them felt that Malone was putting other women in danger of suffering the same fate at the hands of Malone’s assailant. Of course, there were those who didn’t believe her, and didn’t care about what she had to say, as they felt that Malone was simply doing it for attention.
It would obviously be wonderful for all men who sexually assault young girls and women (and who sexually assault young boys and men, because supporters of the #MenToo hashtag will probably see this and respond with their usual Whataboutism bullsh-t) to end up on the SummerJam screen and have their sins revealed for the whole world to see. To have them arrested and convicted in a court of law to spend the rest of their days in jail, where they can never roam free to harm anyone else. (Granted, it would be even more wonderful if men wouldn’t sexually assault anyone at all, but again, I’m stating the obvious.) But we’ve all seen what happens to famous women who speak out against their abusers, and how telling the truth and shaming the devil still isn’t enough to guarantee that they will receive the support they need and deserve.
In 2021, Evan Rachel Wood posted on her Instagram page that she was a survivor of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and grooming at the hands of Brian Warner, a.k.a. Marilyn Manson. The following year, HBO released the docuseries Phoenix Rising, which detailed Wood’s abusive relationship with Manson. None of this has prevented Manson’s fans (and people who aren’t even fans of him or his music but who nonetheless feel the need to defend famous men like Manson when they’re accused of rape and abuse) from defending him and claiming his innocence, while also stating that Wood has been lying about everything she has said about him. It doesn’t help that recent news came to light that another person who accused Marilyn Manson had suddenly recanted those accusations, while also accusing Wood of coercing her to accuse Manson and lie about being abused. This was fuel being added to the fire for those who demand that Manson receive justice and that his name be cleared of all wrongdoing. (When I first heard about this, my immediate reaction was that this accuser, who had done a 180, should have her arm examined. Because I wouldn’t be surprised if Manson, or someone from his camp, had twisted it to make her tell the media that he is innocent, and that Wood had forced her to lie to everyone about him.)
FYI: Let’s not forget how Wood suffered immediate backlash in January of 2020 when she tweeted on the day that Kobe Bryant died — along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other individuals, in a helicopter crash: “What has happened is tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.” Aside from the fact that people were angry at Wood for saying this when emotions were very raw over losing Kobe just hours before, they also felt that she was wrong to lie about him like this on the Internet, and that talking about what happened in 2003 between Kobe and his accuser should be saved for another day and time. Though as some were willing to point out, there is never a good day or time to call someone out for their history of sexual assault, and it was clear that many of Kobe’s fans and peers much preferred to simply sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened.
Angelina Jolie revealed how her ex-husband, Brad Pitt, physically assaulted her and two of their children aboard an airplane back in 2016. None of this information has stopped her peers in Hollywood from continuing to kiss Pitt’s ring, and not only continue working with him on films but also fawn all over him at awards shows. Jolie is every bit as famous and respected in Hollywood as Pitt. But male privilege is a hell of a drug, and not only is Pitt a man, but he’s a man who is still both handsome and a successful box-office draw. (Except for Babylon, but it seems like Hollywood is willing to let that one slide.) And as Bob Sugar once said: “It’s not show friends, it’s show business.”
Then there’s Megan Thee Stallion. She was shot by rapper Tory Lanez in July of 2020 following a heated argument, and as she attempted to exit the vehicle they were in, Tory drew a handgun and shot at Megan, with bullets striking both of her feet. Since then, Megan has dealt with anonymous f-ckboys and Pick-Mes on social media saying horrible things about her, she’s also been subjected to other rappers cracking jokes and spitting lyrics in their own songs about what happened to her, making it clear that they supported Tory Lanez (a rapper who barely anyone had heard of before the shooting, and whose music few people were familiar with) instead of Megan, who they felt was either lying or blowing the whole situation out of proportion because she was trying to bring another Black man down. Despite the fact that it was Megan herself who initially refused to tell the cops what Lanez did to her. Because ACAB; because they’re both Black; because ACAB; and because she wasn’t foolish enough to think that cops would respond calmly and without violence when responding to a call where rappers and guns are involved. Since Tory Lanez was found guilty of shooting her (and since his family responded to the verdict by calling Jay-Z a bitch, and vowing that Roc Nation would crumble), Megan has gone radio silent and hasn’t been seen in public or on social media for weeks. Her peers, on the other hand? They’ve been offering halfhearted, piss-poor apologies for not supporting and believing Megan in the first place.
Last but not least: Amber Heard. Heard didn’t even identify Johnny Depp by name when she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about how she was subjected to sexual abuse and harassment at a very young age; how Hollywood and the fashion industry nearly ruined her career when her experiences with domestic violence became public; and about how so much more needs to be done to protect the rights and safety of women who are targeted with domestic violence and sexual assault. Again, Depp’s name appears nowhere in Heard’s op-ed. That didn’t stop him from taking offense, and he sued her for defamation. Unfortunately, Heard and her supporters learned that the Devil works hard, but Johnny Depp and his fans work harder, as they were relentless in going after Heard and tearing her apart in every way possible. And once the decision was made for the Depp-Heard trial to be televised? It only made things incredibly worse, and made it much easier for people on YouTube and social media to pretend they were experienced legal analysts and body language interpreters, and for celebrities like Raven-Symone and Lance Bass to make Heard the butt of their jokes, and use the trial as an opportunity to mock Heard for her testimony in court. (Because domestic violence is just hilarious!) Depp may have won the defamation trial, and had his fans and peers cheering for him as if he lifted Mjolnir to battle Thanos, but has that stopped him or his fans from continuing to attack and mock Amber Heard on a regular basis? Of course not. Because where’s the fun in leaving her alone and showing support for other survivors of abuse and domestic violence (you know, the real victims who Amber makes it hard for everyone else to believe, according to them), when they can just continue reminding her that everything she said in her op-ed was right?
So it should be no surprise as to why Jena Malone had no interest in becoming the next piñata for everyone to beat on for their own amusement. From people who immediately demand to see screenshots and video-recorded evidence any time a woman comes forward with allegations of rape and/or abuse, but still somehow have trouble believing what they’re seeing and what they’re being told. (Because they just have questions! They’re only asking questions! Thoughts?!?! They have plenty of those, as well!) From people who actually believe that cops can be trusted to pursue cases of sexual assault to the best of their ability, and not just simply let rape kits sit on a shelf and collect dust. From people who are such ride-or-die fans of male celebrities that they would gladly volunteer as Tribute to chew food on a male celebrity’s behalf if his teeth fell out. From people who care so much more about the future and happiness of men who stalk, rape, abuse, and kill than they do about the safety and very lives of women who have suffered — and who will continue to suffer — their wrath.
This is a world that constantly reminds us that it can’t be trusted to protect the rights of women even before they are sexually assaulted, let alone after. So don’t ask questions about why women refuse to come forward when we know damn well that a lot of you won’t like or care about the answers.