[CN: rape culture, sexual assault]
I’ll get to Damon Wayans — and his recent, egregious comments on Bill Cosby — in a moment. I’d like to start with a dim memory of a personal essay I read almost two decades ago.
The essay’s author was a man whose girlfriend had been raped by a stranger in a violent assault and who decides to return with her to the scene of the attack so she can show him, step-by-step, blow-by-blow, what she endured. He agrees to this, hoping a controlled reenactment will help in her recovery…and fearing what he will discover about himself in the process. In going to this dark place, he worries, will he feel what her rapist felt? Will he be confronted by his own capacity to be a rapist?
Yet during the reenactment, the author comes to understand not “I too could be a rapist” — but “I too could be a victim.”
I still remember this insight as a stunning moment of empathy and vulnerability, all these years later. I’m going to ask you to remember too, because I’ll be coming back to this in a moment.
But first I’m gonna talk about Mr. Wayans.
* * *
In the last five minutes or so of a half-hour interview Wayans did on Friday on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, he was asked to weigh in on Bill Cosby and the nearly 50 women alleging they were sexually assaulted by the comic. If you have seen any reporting on this interview — even if you didn’t read beyond the headline — chances are you have already seen the worst of Wayans’ rape denialism: how the victims are too ugly to be believed. They all look “unrapeable” to him.
Look, if you are filled with umbrage at this comment — if the very idea of using one’s mouth to form the syllables of “unrapeable” raises bile in your throat — I get it. Oh how I get it. If that’s where you’re at today, I’m fully sympathetic.
I’m also tired.
As Kirsten West Savali points out, this is Rape Culture 101-level bullshit, spewed by a “self-proclaimed funny-man in the last gasp of relevancy.” In fact, the whole five minutes could run as a Thought Catalog listicle: 12 Quick and Terrible Ways to Support the Rapists in Your Life — While Undermining Their Victims! Continue reading “Advice for the Unraped, Before Your Next Press Appearance”