Last year the resurfacing of a video of Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci caused a rightful uproar on social media. In the video, Bertolucci admits that the details around the infamous rape scene in his iconic movie Last Tango In Paris was planned between him and Marlon Brando without the prior consent or knowledge of actress Maria Schneider.
In the video, Bertolucci says that he and Marlon Brando came up with the concept to use the stick of butter in the scene on the morning of the shoot and didn’t tell Maria, because they wanted her "to react as a girl, and not an actress."
This is unacceptable. To spring something like that on an actress, during a rape scene where she would obviously feel vulnerable, is nothing short of abusive.
READ MORE on Channel24: Celebrities voice outrage over Last Tango in Paris rape scene revelation
Celebrities and fans took to Twitter to share their anger.
Ava DuVernay sayd this is “inexcusable”
But the most salient points were raised in a conversation between Anna Kendrick and Chris Evans where Anna pointed out that the actress Maria Schneider had spoken out about this before, but it had never been treated like a big story.
The thing that pisses me off? Maria, who passed away in 2011, spoke about the scene a number of times after it came out and said she "felt a little raped" by her co-star and director in a 2007 Daily Mail interview. A woman said she felt raped, but no one heard her. A man then said that the scene was, in fact, “non-consensual” and still no one listened.
This video is three years old. Only now are people talking about this. It took three years for this man’s admission of brutal disregard for an actress to get any traction. Why?
Because men get away with it. Because we live in a society where we’d much rather support the men who abuse women, than the women who are abused.
This is the reason Woody Allen still has a career even after years of sexual assault allegations from his daughter Dylan Farrow.
This is the same reason why no one listened to the women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault - and why so many still question these women’s motives.
This is also, probably, the reason why Donald Trump is the president-elect even though everyone expressed shock and horror at his “grab her by the pussy” comments.
Earlier this year Rose McGowan claimed in a series of tweets that she was raped by an unnamed studio head and then shamed for it with the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport. The actress seemingly wanted to report the rape, but was allegedly told by a female attorney that her case wouldn’t be successful due to the fact that she’d done a sex scene in a film.
Because filming a sex scene where a woman is in charge of what happens to her body is somehow seen as worse than being raped. “Because it's been an open secret in Hollywood/Media & they shamed me while adulating my rapist,” she says in one of the tweets.
A month later, a sex tape allegedly starring Rose and an unidentified male was leaked online. It seems that this could possibly be the movie that Rose says was sold to her alleged rapist by an ex for distribution. This is just another example of how a woman’s sexuality is used against her to shame and mock her in front of the entire world because she spoke out.
And it’s not just sexual abuse, but any time a woman speaks out against a man who may have harmed her.
Remember when Johnny Depp was accused of physical and verbal assault by his then wife Amber Heard? Remember how the public called her a gold digger and said she was just after more money from him?
W24 wrote an article after the allegations saying that Johnny’s career wouldn’t suffer, and guess what? We were right. Johnny was announced as Grindelwald in JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (which many fans, myself included, were upset about) just months after the allegations which Amber eventually retracted so that she could get her divorce finalised.
Amber then also gave her $7 million (R96.4 million) settlement to charity after the divorce was finalised, but I’ve still heard people say nasty things about her and say it was a publicity stunt. Heard maintains that she was abused and did a PSA for #GirlGaze recently. She still suffers from the stigma attached to abuse victims, yet Johnny got another job in a major franchise just three short months after their divorce was finalised.
This happens because our patriarchal society protects men, especially privileged, cisgendered men, from harm.
Do you remember that R Kelly, Mike Tyson, Roman Polanski, and Rob Lowe were all accused or convicted of sexual assault? Yet they all still have their lucrative careers, while the women who were involved in all of these cases have become nameless, faceless victims who are only ever brought up if another accusation comes to light.
We need to address this. We need to talk about why this is still happening in 2016. Why the concept of rape culture has permeated our society to such an extent that it has become the norm and what we can do to change it.
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