Evan Rachel Wood Was 'Essentially Raped on Camera' and No One Seemed To Care
Sexual violence against women too often goes ignored
Almost a year ago, Evan Rachel Wood came forward on Instagram to confirm the rumours that Brian Warner - a.k.a. Marilyn Manson - had abused her.
She had previously testified to Congress in 2018 about her experiences with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by a romantic partner; however, she chose at that time to keep Manson's identity anonymous.
Following her last year's statement, at least four other women accused the singer of similar things. And he has since been hit with three lawsuits.
Now, Wood decided to share more details about her abusive relationship with Manson in a new documentary called Phoenix Rising. In Part 1 of the film, which premiered last Sunday night, Wood said that she was 'essentially raped on camera' by Manson during the filming of his 2007 music video 'Heart-Shaped Glasses.'
We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real. I had never agreed to that. ( . . . ) It was complete chaos. I did not feel safe. No one was looking after me. It was a really traumatising experience filming the video. - Evan Rachel Wood in Phoenix Rising, via People
For the record, she was only 19 years old when this happened. He was 36.
I can't even begin to imagine the amount of pain and trauma she carried with her through all of these years.
But even though we don't know for sure whether people on the set that day didn't notice what was going on or saw it and decided not to do anything about it, similar situations happen all the time.
Too often, we tend to turn a blind eye when women are being harassed, assaulted or raped. Even when it's happening right before our very eyes.
Too many people choose to be passive bystanders
A few months ago, a stranger man raped a woman on a train in Philadelphia. According to the police reports, there were 'a lot of people' on board who should have 'done something.'
But bystanders who witnessed this horrific act did nothing.
And there are sadly countless stories like this one. Women and girls are being sexually assaulted at parties. Conferences. Offices. Schools. Universities. Public transport stations. Airports. Restaurants. Bars. Grocery stores. Buses. Trains. Planes. And many, many more places.
Even with many people around, we can't feel safe. Because if something does happen to us, chances are they will just choose to ignore it. Pretend it doesn't happen. Or even join in on the 'fun' - as it happened in another recent case in Milan, Italy.
I have first-hand experience with these kinds of situations, too.
One Saturday morning, I was riding the tube in London, and two men started harassing me out of nowhere. They seemed still a bit drunk from the night before. No one around me did or said anything.
Another time, during my modelling years, a male photographer I used to work with sexually assaulted me in the middle of a photo shoot. No one around me did or said anything.
And another time, I was groped and pulled by my hair by a stranger man in the middle of a club full of people. No one around me did or said anything.
In fact, no one has ever helped me or said anything during the countless times I was sexually assaulted or harassed in public. Not even once.
This is a troubling sign of the state of society.
We allow women to be followed. To be groped. To be touched. To be yelled at. To be spat at. To have their clothes ripped off. And to be raped while others are watching. But the more we allow it to happen, the more likely it will keep happening.
Over, and over, and over again.
Violent hatred and sexual abuse of women became too normalised
Even though last year 'only' five women came forward with allegations against Marilyn Manson, in total, around 15 did. And he has since denied all of them, claiming he's a 'victim of a conspiracy.' Right.
But these allegations really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
In his 1988 autobiography, The Long, Hard Road from Hell, Manson tells the story of planning to kill an ex-girlfriend in an arson attack. He admitted to smashing his mother in the face with a glass perfume bottle in the same book. He said, on numerous occasions, that he fantasises about abusing, killing, and raping women and that he has an obsession with women's dead and mutilated bodies.
Marilyn Manson showed us he is a monster long before we knew he was one.
So why didn't anybody pay attention? Why did we allow him to rise to fame in the first place? Why didn't anybody seem concerned when he allegedly raped Evan Rachel Wood on the set of his music video?
The answer to all these questions is simple. Violent hatred and sexual abuse of women is so deeply ingrained in our culture that men not only get away with it most of the time, but they can actually ride it to fame and fortune. Because Manson isn't the only celebrity who was given a financial incentive and cultural permission to continue their abusive behaviour.
We keep praising one violent man after another. And then we justify or dismiss their disgusting actions. Or even blame it on the victims.
That right here is one of the reasons why rape culture is still alive and well.
And as long as it will be perpetuated by those in power, entertainment and media, women won't be treated like human beings. We won't be granted the same respect as men. We won't be believed by those who are supposedly there to help us.
No, we will continue to be walking sex objects that exist solely for the sexual gratification of men.
It doesn't take much to listen, believe survivors and be an active bystander
Some time ago, I wrote an article about rape culture and why more men aren't fighting against it.
As expected, I got quite a few comments like this one:
Can't fight something that isn't real.
Despite male sexual violence against women becoming more and more widespread lately, many still deny there's a problem at all. Or rather - it's not their problem. So why should they care?
Now, I hate to bring out the 'just think about your mother, sister, wife or girlfriend' argument because men shouldn't need to think about the women they know to empathise with women they don't know. But if you genuinely believe rape culture doesn't exist, do talk to women in your life.
And I don't mean ask them a yes/no question and then leave. Really talk to them. How many times someone followed them home? How many times someone touched them inappropriately in public? How many times did strangers harass them? How many times were these experiences trivialised or dismissed by others? How many times have they felt unsafe, scared or terrified in male-dominated environments?
Rape culture isn't some sort of a conspiracy against all men. It's simply the social beliefs and morals that allow sexual violence against women to persist and be largely ignored. And it results in nearly all women experiencing some form of sexual assault during their lifetimes.
Although the sad truth is that there's no one solution to eliminating rape culture and, consequently, sexual violence against women, talking about these issues openly already helps a little. And so does listening to survivors - both women and men. And taking them seriously. And speaking up when we hear others joking about or glamorising rape. And asking ourselves how can we change the culture that produces abusive men at pandemic rates.
And being an active bystander.
Because when we intervene, we signal to the perpetrator that their behaviour is unacceptable. And if such messages are constantly reinforced within our society, we can shift the boundaries of what is considered acceptable, and problem behaviour can eventually be minimised.
While we might never eliminate violence - of any sort - as bad people will probably always exist, we can at least try to make our world a bit less shit.
Little by little.
And if you're not sure if a particular situation requires intervening and how you can intervene, I strongly recommend reading this article from a charity dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
People who still wonder why women don't come forward sooner in cases of sexual abuse should just look at the comment section of any recent posts about Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson.
There's a lot of victim-blaming there. A lot of comparisons between her and Amber Heard. And some people even accuse her of lying about Manson and their abusive relationship for money.
Personally, I choose to believe her.
Evan Rachel Wood is not only a courageous woman who shared with the world the horrifying details of the abuse she endured for years, but she's also an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. She wrote and championed the Phoenix Act, a California state bill that empowers survivors to come forward by expanding victims' rights and extending the statute of limitations.
So if anything, I think we need more women and men like her in this world. Not less.
This story was originally published on Medium.
About the Creator
Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always stirring the pot. Social sciences nerd based in London. Check out my other social media: www.linktr.ee/katiejgln
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