Thinking of Going Public? Beware the Straw Man.

David Wayne

As if going public about sexual traumas in one's past weren't daunting enough, there can be additional difficulties in the form of backlash. This can mean family members that you likely only see at funerals, yet once you begin speaking out, they act as if they know everything about everything...and they don't appreciate your healing process. Chances are, this kind of obstacle will come from those who were perpetrators or knew at least a little about what was happening, and they did nothing.

Another type of roadblock survivors can run into is the straw man fallacy. This is especially common if a survivor is speaking out against the sex industry and including parts of their own personal experiences. As an example, take my history of being photographed and filmed pornographically. I often emphasize that I was first photographed at or around the age of 11 or 12, forced to engage in sex acts with an older female cousin while my father took Polaroid photos. From that point on, it became fairly easy for exploiters to groom me and entice me into similar situations. I was filmed, not professionally, at the age of 17 which is considered child pornography, by people who had the ability to market the films. Was I ever a "star?" No. I have never claimed any such thing. Was I "in porn?" Yes, depending on the context of the question. Sometimes a question like that is only meant to address the professional adult industry, in which case, no. Producers were much more interested in my 19 year old girlfriend who planned to pursue an adult film career in Los Angeles. I intended to travel with her and pursue a musical direction, having been in hard rock bands most of my teen years. Modeling was a love/hate interest of mine, but it was never my passion.

Someone seeking to trash survivors in order to promote the adult industry's interests might take part of my history and twist it into a straw man fallacy, like this. Let's say someone reacts with astonishment and ridicule when they find out I was photographed and filmed. They may argue that I was never "in porn," which is true if referring to the professional studios. They may argue that I was never a porn star, which is most certainly true. And therein lies the rub. By arguing against a statement that is false, they create an illusion of discrediting my history. Sorry folks, been there and done that, way too many times. If you're considering going public, be aware and prepared.