This is probably the longest post I have ever written. If I ask myself why I have taken the time to write this, the answer is that women need to have a voice. In our society, women often do not have voices in regards to many things – not just assault. That being said, I can imagine the emotional turmoil that Leigh Raven is experiencing right now, and to expect her to defend her position is ludicrous. She needs time to process and heal, and the last thing she needs is to defend or explain her trauma. In this post I will analyze and break down the entire scene of the released shoot.
If you don’t know about the Leigh Raven sexual assault claim during a porn shoot with Rico Strong, you should.
Raven entered the industry almost two years ago and has had a successful adult entertainment career thus far. She is an international published model, an award winning XXX performer, director, and makeup artist.
She often shares photos of her work, her life with her wife Nikki Hearts, living in LA, her cats, and other various normal human things.
Her experience with the porn industry has been mostly positive until her shoot with Strong, where she claims she felt violated, dismissed, and that her boundaries were disregarded and blatantly overlooked during the shoot. Yes, it was a rough sex scene, but her claim clearly states that it was more than that.
I am going to watch the “complete scene that was released by her accusers, and I’m going to break it down and analyze it for you.”
You can see her account of the experience, along with the similar claim made by Riley Nixon, on youtube:
More performers have come out with similar claims and stories since Raven’s video was shared.
Since the claim, Raven has been called a liar, and her claims are being dismissed by many, and there is even a rumor that she was coerced by her wife to make the claim.
Honestly, she is receiving all of the typical responses that a woman receives when she makes a sexual assault claim against a man.
We expected this, or at least I did.
There is a myth that adult entertainment industry workers (that includes all sex workers) cannot be sexually assaulted because they are in the profession of performing sexual acts for pay.
This is a myth. Don’t forget that.
Yet, the problem is bigger. The problem is that women in our society are rarely respected or validated when they do make assault claims against a man. This is due to patriarchy and that the fact that in our society, women are the oppressed group. Of course, false accusations do exist. I am not denying that. Yet, even when the accusation is not false, the accuser must run the gauntlet of invalidation, slander, and libel.
In retaliation to Raven’s claim, Mike South, who I think is the producer of the shoot (not sure), released this article with a video of the “complete” shoot that you can watch for yourself.
I have watched the “complete” video and I can tell you that it is not complete. It is not a solid filming. There are breaks. So, we cannot trust it. Sorry, guys. Sorry, Mike South. Sorry, Strong.
In response to the video release, Raven tweeted:
Edited to fuck, I vomited upside down. But not in that video. I was on set for 6 hrs. Not 3 https://t.co/0K5s5OVUvj
— Leigh Raven (@leighravenx) April 13, 2018
Here’s my take on the shoot:
It appears as if the people manning the cameras have no idea what they are doing. To me, they seem like amateurs who clearly lack the ability to give direction about their “vision” for the shoot.
7:02 – Leigh explains that she has a shallow cervix, the response from ALL of the men is one of uncomfortable humor. It’s almost as if they have NO concept of female anatomy, and they minimize her explanation of her limits in regards to her specific anatomy. Big no-no. Huge red flag. I mean, come on, these are men who are supposed to be informed about SEX. They film live sex for a living! Amateurs. Immature and uneducated.
To add testimony to their ignorance, the producer also refers to Leigh as a “girl” as opposed to “woman,” (before the shoot). While this might not seem like a big deal, it is a definite testament to their lack of knowledge of and respect of women in general. It’s simply a micro-aggression. Subtle, yes, but present.
1:07:02 – the tape stops and a man comes on screen claiming “battery change,” but we can see that it was a lot more than a battery change because of all of the different items we can now see on set: paper towels, apples, towels, water bottles, etc. At this point, Leigh does not seem to be visibly upset or shaken, She is laughing a little at the useless conversation between the men that is occurring.
1:29:42 – During the break Raven declines an offer for water but then says “yes please,” when offered water again. Someone then says, somewhat sarcastically, “I offered you water and you said you didn’t want any.” Her response: “I changed my mind.” She is then met with mocking from the men on set simply for having changed her mind. While this may not seem important on the surface, it is SO indicative of something deeper. Their dismissive and negative response to her change in desire reinforces the notion that women are not allowed to change their mind – or have an opinion in general – when it comes to anything – especially sex. If you think I’m pulling this out of my ass, I’m here to tell you that the message that women receive is that their pleasure is not important, and they definitely cannot stop having sex if it has already started. While this message is not true for women who have rejected the notion that sex is a “duty,” the message still exists. See here: Men in North Caroling Allowed to Finish Sex even if Woman Revokes Consent.
1:48:59 – Strong says “good girls always please.” While we know that this is in the context of the scene, the notion that “good girls always please,” is eroticized and used as an arousal message for viewers watching the shoot. The fantasy of the female sex slave is alive and well in our culture – and it’s not only in porn.
1:36:15 – Break in film – maybe another “battery change.”
Notice that Raven’s shoes are still on – she asked for them to be removed in the beginning of the shoot. At
1:38:20 – Shoes are ordered off.
1:47:30 – Strong shoves the entire length of his cock inside Raven – who is visibly in pain and verbally cries out.
Common knowledge: if someone has a shallow cervix, you don’t insert your fucking cock all the way in their vagina. Period. Also, unless a woman is aroused, her cervix will not tilt out of the way to make room for the penis. While it is fair to assume that Raven was not aroused during the shoot, how the body responds to arousal or lack thereof should have been taken into account. Again, basic biology that I’m sure the men had no knowledge of.
I’d also like to comment on the lack of sanitation practices in the shoot. At one point, during a break around 2:01:01, both performers are sharing a jar of lube and putting the lube on their genitals. The jar of lube has been in multiple hands and probably has been sitting on the floor, dirty counters, etc. After Strong is done with the lube, he rolls the jar of lube across the floor. Who knows when the floor was last cleaned. He used the same hand – repeatedly throughout the shoot – to put lube on his penis over and over. We all realize that his penis is going into Raven’s vagina – which is comprised of porous mucus membrane. Not ok in my opinion, but perhaps this is common practice or part of the risk of being a porn performer.
2:09:01 – Raven is clearly in pain due to the deep penetration. I’m sure this was only one of many times of deep penetration that contributed to her cervix being bruised (which was confirmed by medical provider afterward).
2:12:10 – Raven gives the non-verbal cue of pushing his legs away while she cries out in pain. Does he stop or adjust? This time, kind of. Yet, throughout the rest of the shoot he continues to use deep penetration over and over after her repeated cues of squeezing his leg and pushing his leg away AND crying out. He completely disregards her cues and continues to cause pain. It is a difficult part of the scene to watch.
At that point, the man behind the camera should have stopped the scene and checked in with Raven. It is HIS job to enforce both verbal and NON-VERBAL objections to what is being done. If you can’t tell the difference between acting to be hurt and actually being hurt, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN THE FUCKING BUSINESS OF CREATING ROUGH SEX PORN.
I’ll also say, that there is a difference between the illusion of causing pain and truly causing pain. The numerous times in which Strong hit Raven were moments when the illusion of pain could have been used. He did not need to hit her to the point of making her see stars. He could have slapped her soft enough to not hurt as much but hard enough to get material for the shoot. This is possible.
2:20:00 – Strong apparently has a problem cumming so he uses Raven to get really aroused for the “pop” shot. He then fucks her for nearly ten minutes that I’m pretty sure aren’t being filmed.
I find it ironic that in order for him to really get aroused, he engages in some very vanilla sex with Raven and even starts to kiss her and hold her close to his body. This could be a blog post on its own, but I’ll stay focused here.
2:34:24 – We finally have the pop shot. Raven’s expression on her face isn’t one of pleasure – which works for the scene – but there’s definitely a bit of truth on her face as well. If we look behind the acting, we see more. I’d be willing to bet that this is the moment that she starts to slowly process her emotions in regards to what happened during the shoot.
2:40:00 – Battery switch
2:40:03 – Exit Interview after Raven has cleaned up. If we analyze the exit interview it is clear that her words do not match the expression on her face. Her downward turned lower lip indicates discomfort and a disconnect between how she feels and what she is saying – also known as not being truthful – which is often a survival tactic after one experiences a traumatic event. It also appears that for the rest of the shoot, Raven is in a somewhat disassociated state – which is very indicative of trauma.
Also, Raven and other performers have been conditioned to say that things went well and all is good. That’s their job! Raven clearly just wants to get the fuck out of there. If you can’t see what I’m seeing, you are blind.
The only time you can see that Raven is being truthful is when the cameraman asks her if she is racist and her slight grimace turns into a smile, and she responds with, “absolutely not.”
When asked if she would shoot with them again she bites her lip and says, “yes,” to which the camera man responds with a surprised, “you would?!”
END OF SHOOT
So, we have a dilemma in which Raven’s words during the shoot do not match her claims after the shoot.
I am here to say that it is completely normal for a woman to engage in behavior and activity – that she has priorly consented to – in the moment, and then realize AFTER THE FACT that boundaries were violated and she did not feel respected. This phenomena does not only apply to sex, but sex is what we are talking about here. Why would a woman do that you may ask? Survival, fear of violent repercussion, social conditioning…to name a few. Raven’s words, “I was scared,” come to mind.
Also, during the shoot, Raven’s endorphins were going, she was probably in survival mode, she wanted to do her job, the job had already started, she wanted to get paid, she wanted to protect her reputation as a good performer, and she probably has been conditioned to think that she CANNOT say no during the shoot. Given all of these indications, one can see why she would go along with her role.
Raven claims that it was when she got in her wife’s car that she completely broke down and started crying.
I can tell you from personal experience, that often times during a traumatic event, it isn’t until the event is over – when the brain has had time to go from survival mode back to its normal state – that a person will “lose it,” and realize what actually happened to them and that it was not ok.
To only go off her words to determine whether or not she was assaulted, is doing Raven a compete disservice. To the person who is not educated in the psychology and physiology of trauma responses (which I’m sure the men in the shoot and most of the general public are not), it would appear that Raven is making a false statement.
Yet, to the person who understands trauma, social conditioning and expectations of women during sex, porn psychology, and sex work, it is clear that Raven was in fact violated in many ways. While none of them may have had the INTENT to harm her, she was, without a doubt, harmed.
Just because Strong and the other men were oblivious to her non-verbal cues, does not excuse the IMPACT of their actions. There is a difference between INTENT and IMPACT. For the men to disregard accountability and how they contributed to harming Raven, is probably based in fear of repercussion and a general lack of knowledge of the things I have mentioned above. That being said, ignorance is no excuse.
I literally just took a break, sighed and said, “society is a fucking mess.” Patriarchy and the conditioning of sexual roles has fucked us, and not in a good way.
So, what is the solution? Where do we go from here? Clearly there was a gross lack of knowledge in regards to sexual biology, non-verbal cues, etc. on ALL of the men’s part. The men clearly were ignorant to many, many things during the shoot, and that resulted in the harm and trauma of a well-respected, intelligent, and successful performer. Accountability would be nice on their part, but instead they engage in defensive responses and call her a liar in attempt to ruin her career – which they will not.
There is absolutely NO reason that Raven would make this up. Raven had nothing to gain by falsifying information about being assaulted. She was already successful. A publicity stunt was not necessary. In fact, I’m sure she was hesitant to come out about the assault for fear of her reputation and career being damaged, not to mention the emotional pain she was processing. However, she did come out. She stated that she did not want another performer to experience what she experienced.
These are the things we must talk about when we are living in a rape culture that – as a majority – condones violence against women. These are the things that need to be brought to our attention. Until things change on a systemic level, I hope people keep talking.
Welcome to America, land of the free.