stoya explains the difficulties of speaking out about james deen

"I’d neglected to complete the public record. It ate away at me," the actress writes in a new letter.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
21 December 2015, 12:35pm

Image via @stoya

Yesterday, for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, pornographic actress Stoya shared a post on her website, Graphic Descriptions, detailing the barriers to speaking out about sexual assault within the adult entertainment industry.

Last month, when she came forward about her own alleged rape by actor and former boyfriend James Deen, she chose to do so on Twitter — not through the mainstream media or by pursuing legal action. On November 28, she wrote, "That thing where you log in to the internet for a second and see people idolizing the guy who raped you as a feminist." Almost immediately, other women came forward with similar allegations against Deen.

Stoya's new blog post aims to explain why there has been such a reluctance to acknowledge abuse in her industry. "Unlike many other industries, we who work in pornography experience the effects of moral hysteria and anti-sex work propagandists," she writes. She also explains that she didn't feel she could file a report with the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee since Deen was on the board (he has since resigned as co-chair). "Similarly," she says, "I didn't feel as if I could press charges because the U.S. court system rarely metes out anything that looks like justice when sex workers are involved."

She felt social media was her best (if not only) option, even though she "doubted [she] would be believed." And in her post she expresses her gratitude for the many people who have supported her. But her larger point is that it's not enough to listen only to "white cis-women" pornographers. We have to listen to all sex workers, she writes — especially the most vulnerable and marginalized — if the culture around sexual assault and workers' legal protection are ever to improve.

"I'll be doing a lot of listening to others under the red umbrella of sex work," she concludes,"I believe that their safety is important and that it can be improved. I believe that no one is safe and no one is protected unless we're all safe and protected, sex worker or not."


Text Alice Newell-Hanson

James Deen