James Deen, Stoya, and rape culture.

Nothing like the subject of rape to bring the most inveterate misogynists out of the woodwork in force.

Today the adult film actress and writer Stoya tweeted that her ex-boyfriend, celebrated porn star James Deen, had raped her. The story was quickly picked up by numerous media outlets including The Frisky which, in light of the allegation, promptly shit-canned Deen’s weekly sex advice column. Joanna Angel, one of Deen’s former lovers, tweeted her support of Stoya, and to my surprise a #SolidarityWithStoya hashtag soon emerged as fans and followers lauded her for being brave enough to speak out. So far, so good.

Then I started reading the comments threads.

Unsurprisingly, most of the content was in equal parts depressing and appalling. Some commenters accused Stoya of lying for attention or revenge, which I’ve noticed is pretty much par for the course with every high-profile rape allegation. Others questioned whether an adult film actor could be raped at all, as though working in porn means you forfeit sovereignty over your own body. Inevitably, it devolved into a series of paranoid tirades about feminists ruining the lives of innocent men with our epidemic of just-for-fun false accusations.

I will never understand why the prevailing knee-jerk reaction is always to disbelieve women who claim to have been raped. Consider the Bill Cosby case, for instance: To date, more than fifty women have accused him of sexual assault and there are still people who think it’s more plausible that they’re all conspiring against him in a bid for fifteen minutes of fame.

Why always this resolute refusal to give women the benefit of the doubt?

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