Ask Your Father: Stoya, James Deen, The Hunting Ground and building a culture of consent

stand with stoyaI stumbled into the Stoya-James Deen adult-film sexual-assault accusation story on Twitter when #SolidarityWithStoya began trending. I had never heard the names before, but was interested because I’m a social media nerd. If it’s trending, I need to know about it.

What I learned about was a story of (alleged) gross sexual misconduct and attacks perpetuated by — and upon — members of the adult film industry. But I won’t go into rehashing the story, as you can Google it yourself.

The reason I’m checking in today, though, is the reaction I’ve heard from a number of people with whom I’ve spoken about this story. Certainly, a majority of the folks in my world and community are equally as saddened and disgusted by Deen’s alleged acts, but it’s the minority of people who have expressed an opinion that it is impossible to sexually violate someone based on their chosen professional field is troubling. It’s gross. It’s wrong. And it has to stop.

In this Ask Your Father podcast, I’m calling for dads everywhere to begin to model a Culture of Consent and Human Respect in their everyday lives. It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. In many ways, you are likely already doing so. If that’s the case, keep it up. But give a name to it. Give your children the tools and words to name kindness and cruelty. Allow them the right to express ownership of their bodies. Do so yourself.

Obviously, I’m not a psychologist. I’m no sociologist. But I am a dad. And I care enough to hope you’ll join this important fight, for this generation and every one that comes after.

Just in case you need further proof that our work is needed on this issue, find yourself a screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground.” At the very least, watch the embedded clip from the film, if you haven’t already.

Kyle Belanger

Written by: Kyle Belanger

Proud father to three children (in order: one deceased, one adopted and one biological), Kyle is constantly navigating the worlds between actively grieving and openly gloating. Learn more about Kyle here.

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