Charlize Theron is the latest actor to compare press coverage of her life to being "raped."
During an interview with Sky News, a reporter read a variety of headlines about the South African actress and asked whether the intrusive stories bothered her. Theron then explained that she doesn't Google herself because "when you start living in that world, and doing that, you start feeling raped."
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When asked whether she meant to make such a strong comparison, Theron, who has worked with the United Nations to fight rape in South Africa, stood her ground. "Well, when it comes to your son and your private life — maybe it's just me," Theron said. "Some people might relish in all that stuff but there are certain things in my life that I think of as very sacred, and I am very protective over them."
In 2010, Kristen Stewart similarly compared seeing paparazzi photos of herself to "looking at someone being raped." A year later, Johnny Depp repeated the sentiment, saying having photos taken of him made him feel like he's "being raped somehow." Both actors issued public apologies for their remarks, but as of now, Theron has not.
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While it's easy to understand celebrities' feelings of being violated by the press, to use the word rape in such a context is systemic of a larger culture that doesn't take rape seriously. The way in which Theron, Stewart and Depp have used the word rape only further dilutes its meaning and trivializes the trauma victims experience, which can make it even harder for victims to be taken seriously and get the help they need.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) issued a statement regarding Theron's remarks (as obtained by CNN): "We wish Charlize Theron had used a more appropriate metaphor to describe the experience of being a celebrity in the era of digital media. The horror of being raped should never be compared to the 'unpleasantness' that someone could experience Googling themselves."
What do you think of Theron's comments?