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He could have sex with anybody he wanted. This is the refrain that we hear, over and over again, whenever any moderately famous person is accused of raping a woman. This is how we instantly discredit the victim of rape before she even opens her mouth, before we hear any of the facts of the case, before we conduct a trial. He’s famous. Every woman wants to fuck him. He doesn’t need to rape you (and if he did you should thank him for it).

“He could have sex with anybody he wanted” is a convenient insta-defense for the famous man accused of rape. But famous men beware: “He could have sex with anybody he wanted” also looks a whole lot like an excuse for raping!

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could have sex with anybody he wanted:“most girls would feel lucky to get to have sex with someone like Ben Roethlisberger.”

L.A. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant could have sex with anybody he wanted: “Why would he rape her? He could have sex with anyone he wanted.”

Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock could have sex with anybody he wanted: “It’s not like he had to make somebody have sex with him. He could have sex with anybody he wanted.”

Magician David Copperfield could have sex with anybody he wanted: “I hardly think he needs to rape anyone, surely there is plenty of willing participants out there.”

Other ladybloggers have already parsed some of the absurd cultural assumptions at play here:

(a) Every woman in the world chooses her sex partners based on how far they throw footballs, how many basketballs they put into hoops, how many Bukowski references they can work into their indie rock songs, or how effectively they can make shit disappear. Actually, simple name recognition is enough to make any woman want to fuck you.

(b) Men only rape women because they can’t get sex anywhere else.

These assumptions aren’t just wrong, they’re dangerous. Let’s think of another reason why a man might rape a woman: Because he assumes that he can have sex with anybody he wants. He has a recognizable name, and every woman wants to fuck him. At that point, why bother to gain consent? He’s famous. The consent is implied.

This is how it goes: He could have sex with anybody he wanted. He can have sex with anybody he wants. He can have sex with anybody he wants, whether they like it or not. He’s famous. He can rape anybody he wants.

Photo by nflravens