Shia LaBeouf Deserves Our Respect

December 15, 2014 1:18 pm

This week in the news I read about the alleged rape of Shia LaBeouf. I loath using the word alleged as a precursor to rape. If someone says they were raped, if you ask me we should live in a society that believes that claim. As idealistically left-wing as that may sound. I read about it in The Guardian, and as much as I usually champion The Guardian as one of the last media outlets that makes sense to me, the article left me a little perturbed. In a 500 word article the news that someone was raped took up about 130 of those words. I know by this point in my life I shouldn’t be surprised about things like slut-shaming, victim-blaming, or the general lack of belief and understanding when it comes to rape victims. Especially in the media. However, I guess I had hoped for more from The Guardian. Regardless of how naïve that may have been.

Shia LaBeouf recent comedy stunt has garnered millions of views of YouTube.

The incident happened at his performance of his one man art piece #IAMSORRY, which consisted of Shia LaBeouf sitting with a bag on his head that read, “I am not famous anymore”. Members of the public queued for the opportunity to sit with him. It ran for five days in LA in February.

In an email interview with DAZED magazine LaBeouf wrote: One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for 10 minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.” The British and Finnish artists, Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö commented that Nowhere did we state that people could do whatever they wanted to Shia during #IAMSORRY.” And that As soon as we were aware of the incident starting to occur, we put a stop to it and ensured that the woman left.” In identical statements on twitter. Neither commented when questioned if the police has been called. So obviously not…

Shia_LaBeoufAs much it has always baffled me to understand why people care to know the ins and outs of celebrities lives. I can barely keep up with everything that is happening in my own life, let alone throw in information about people I don’t even know. But I do wonder why it took almost ten months for this to come. Was it people respecting his privacy. Or, was it that no one took it seriously. But why? 1 in 10 rape victims are men, and maybe, apparently only 6.3% of rapes against men and perpetrated by women, but that is only ever the reported numbers.


When one adds together the fact that so few rape victims ever actually come forward and report it, and the fact that many men would find it culturally impossible to admit that they were raped by a women it makes Shia LaBeouf’s bravery in coming forward and admitting what happened to him even more impressive. Which makes it even more infuriating that in every article I have read about it, the incident is often made secondary to the art show, or the fact that Shia LaBeouf is currently undergoing treatment for addiction, after his June arrest. No one wonders if the “addiction” and his alleged rape are connected. No one questions whether the women has been identified and brought to justice.

It would appear that in a world where White Privilege is rife and very real it can’t protect you from everything. In a world where being famous makes your life up for grabs, it apparently also makes your body up for grabs. Apparently being a wealthy, straight, white male in the USA doesn’t guarantee that, in a case of sexual violence, you will be taken seriously and believed. Apparently it still means that your struggle and your pain will be reduced to nothing more than a twitter response, less than half of a 500 word article.

I guess I had higher hopes for British, liberal, left-wing media. I shouldn’t have. But Shia LaBeouf now fully has my respect and admiration, and I believe he should have everyone else’s as well, because, even if it doesn’t immediately, hopefully this will change people’s perspective of what it is to be a victim… who can be victim. And, if nothing else, he deserves our respect because of what happened to him. 


The DAZED article:


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