These recent Weinstein revelations had me thinking about sexual harassment, assault, and rape, and how it can happen so subtly that you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s already too late to defend yourself. Women have had to deal with this treatment for centuries, it’s something I know most of the women in my life have experienced, from my close friends, to my own mother. After having a lengthy discussion with my mother it brought up some thoughts in my own head. Powerful straight men aren’t the only ones exploiting their positions, but also powerful gay men. I have been sexually assaulted, harassed, and raped, by photographers, magazine editors, and others. I have had my naked body touched without permission on photoshoots, I have been verbally harassed on shoots, and this year I was raped in the house I was staying in on Fire Island. I’ve yet to speak out about this before because of the potential repercussions, and putting my reputation in jeopardy, the exact reason why all of these women stay silent.
My Instagram is overtly sexualised, and I have a website in which I celebrate my body in it’s entirety, but within the safety of my own space, and under my own control. My body, my rules, after all.
When people invite me to shoot with them, unfortunately it’s often not because they want to shoot me as a model or artist, but because they want to fuck me. I can normally judge this within the first contact, but sometimes it catches you off guard and it can be extremely unsettling.
Recently I gave some advice to a new & upcoming, younger, Instagram boy. Being almost 30 I sometimes think it’s my responsibility to look out for those younger than me. I said to him to be aware of people’s intentions, to be strong in your boundaries, and make it very clear to the people you work with what is and isn’t ok. He immediately said that if anyone ever put their hands on him he would just knock them out, well, it isn’t quite as simple as that, I said.
One shoot I did years ago, I was shooting in the basement of a photographers house, I really loved his work, and I had wanted to shoot with him for a while. I had a boyfriend at the time, and I was being strictly professional when I arrived. We shot some stuff, and then he asked me to wear a pair of briefs and stand up against one of the walls in his house. Up until this point it was a very normal shoot. I did what he said for the shot, and he took a few pictures. He asked me to turn my head to face the wall and lift my arms up, I did as he said. He promptly came up behind me, pulled down my briefs and stuck is fingers up my ass. First of all I froze. I didn’t know how to react or what to do. I was locked in this guys house, in his basement. My clothes were strewn all across the room, and there was no way I could’ve made a move that quickly. I insisted to him that I couldn’t do what he wanted, that I had a boyfriend, and that we should be professional. It makes you very uncomfortable, and embarrassed, so while you’re saying these things you’re usually smiling, or doing an uncomfortable giggle, which can usually make them ignore the ‘no’ and just continue their pursuit. He backed off and I slowly started collecting my clothes up, I said I had to meet my boyfriend pretty soon. As I was collecting my clothes off the floor, he picked me up (the guy was about 6’3 and I’m about 5’8) and threw me on his couch. He opened his trousers, pulled his dick out and shoved it in my face. I kept my mouth closed, and kept saying, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this. As I was saying this he was hitting my cheek with his hard dick and saying, ‘come on, you know you want to’. After about 15 minutes more of various forms of sexual harassment I managed to leave. There were a lot more attempts he made, and I was lucky to get out before he raped me. I left that shoot feeling like a whore that’d asked for it. I had to meet my boyfriend afterwards, and all I felt was guilt. I felt shame, and embarrassment, so I never told anyone and I kept it to myself.
Since then I have been sexually assaulted on many shoots, from people grabbing my genitals without asking, to making unwanted advances, to simply, & you might say innocently, just asking to touch me.
I have been sexually bribed by famous photographers, magazine editors, fashion designers, and more.
I was recently asked to be in a spread of a very well known gay magazine. I was really pleased and excited, but after the initial message, it soon turned into a sexual bribe, and I had the editor sending me dick pics within about 4 messages.
When I finally addressed the fact that I was sexually assaulted/raped in fire island, the word got out amongst the people I was staying with, and the owners of the house we stayed in actually attacked my friend for sticking up for me. I sent a lengthy email to the owners, mentioning that, not that it was any of their business, but if they felt they needed to know what happened, then I would give them a detailed run down of the events, which I did. To which I received the response ‘I do not wish to comment’. They not only chose to turn a blind eye, for the sake of their friend who raped me, but prior to that had insinuated that I was lying before they had even heard my story. I left it there after that email. They were all lawyers and I was scared I was going to be sued. Isn’t that crazy? Me, the victim, was scared I was going to be the one who would be sued. So what did I do? Closed my mouth & pretended it never happened.
I have many more stories like this, but the point mustn’t be deterred by the grotty details of each incident, but the psychology behind why this is always happening.
Gay men use their power to fuck. Straight men use their power to fuck. The victims always stay silent because they are scared they’re going to aggravate the power which will ultimately lead to their own demise.
I turn up to a photoshoot with a very well known photographer. I spend money and go out of my way to travel to the shoot, I know the images are going to be amazing, but after a while of being there I get told that he will be feeling me up, and he did. What am I supposed to do? Punch him and run out? Say that I’m not comfortable and politely leave. What people don’t understand is that your brain doesn’t work that quickly in these situations. By the time you’re thinking of what to do, it’s already happening. You think of the consequences, them tarnishing your reputation by word of mouth, you never receiving the pictures, you wasting your time and money, then you think that maybe you deserved it, or you are asking for it by agreeing to pose nude for a photographer. All these things are running through your head, and before you can choose one to focus on, his tongue is up your ass.
I’ve had very strong, successful female friends of mine who’ve experienced the same on photoshoots. Asked to stand in a particular pose and then subsequently sexually assaulted. They also freeze, let it happen, and then stay silent.
If someone is brave enough & believes that they should be vocal about something that has happened to them in regards to a sexual assault or a rape, then they should be listened to.
Men in power can be dangerous, gay or straight, and the victims of their deviancies should be supported, always.
I’m sharing this condensed version of my story now as way to not be silent, and hopefully raise awareness that these things happen in the gay community, regularly, just as much as the straight, and we must not be silent, we must be vocal.