...... Hounddog Spoiler Warning .....
I rarely get viscerally angry despite all of the sex crimes I read about and all of the denial I see from people who defend rapists or justify allowing most rapists to deny that they are real rapists.
But an article by the Concerned Women for America calling the movie Hounddog "child porn" has me feeling angry. I would be angry even if I hadn't previewed the finished version of Hounddog which opens today.
Donna Miller, a CWA Prayer/Action Chapter Leader for the Fayetteville area and No More Child Porn Campaign Director, will attend the 2008 Values Voter Summit, a prominent conservative voting rally in Washington, D.C. this weekend, to spread the word about Hounddog, in hopes that concerned citizens will halt the distribution of this film in the mainstream media. [...]
Hounddog features child actress Dakota Fanning, who portrays a nine-year-old that is raped by a man in his late teens, after he tricks her into dancing naked to get Elvis Presley concert tickets. Deborah Kampmeier, writer and director of Hounddog, wrote in the film's press kit, "… she [Fanning's character] is simply and innocently experiencing and relishing the aliveness of her being, the life force pulsing through her body, celebrating the power and creative force of her sexuality that is her birthright."
Donna responds, "This movie is about a nine-year-old girl, not an adult woman. She should be outside skipping rope or riding her bike, not 'celebrating the power and creative force of her sexuality.'"
This last quoted statement is what began the escalation of my anger because this smacks of victim blaming. She seems to be saying that if girls just properly restrained themselves they wouldn't get raped.
Only they still do get raped because rape is caused by the rationalizations of rapists. Rape is not caused by the behavior of rape victims immediately prior to rape. Some rapists will go after girls like the character Lewellen, others will go after those who do nothing anyone would ever criticize.
The practical outcome of telling us what 9 year old girls should be doing in this context is to give rapists another reason to shift responsibility for their crimes onto their victims. They would likely tell their fellow sexual predators if they could that if that 9 year old girl wasn't "asking for it" she'd be outside skipping rope or riding her bike. And they could cite this CWA article as evidence.
That should send shivers down Ms. Miller's spine, but I suspect she'd react with denial.
Hey, Ms. Miller, how about some lectures about proper behavior directed at boys and men?
How about telling teenage boys that it is rape when they "have sex with" a 9-year-old girl no matter what she is doing?
Then don't claim to be concerned Ms. Miller because I have no reason to believe you.
They also requested that the Assembly "provide information from the North Carolina Department of Commerce (which oversees the North Carolina Film office) as to how three movies dealing with the subject of adults having sexual encounters with minors (Hounddog, Bastard Out of Carolina, and Lolita) were filmed in North Carolina. Hounddog was so controversial that it did not receive distributorship until very recently.
This description "dealing with the subject of adults having sexual encounters with minors" is dangerously wrong. Those are 3 movies dealing with the subject of rape. To describe child rape as "sexual encounters" is to reinforce the rationalizations of rapists such as those depicted in those films. This descriptor especially helps rapists who don't use overt force to view themselves as non-rapists.
The result of Ms. Miller's fear and misperceptions is that a character who has been betrayed like I and many others were betrayed cannot be allowed to be seen in a positive light, but must instead be condemned.
Donna says, "Our concern is that this film would say to other children that this behavior is acceptable. As taxpayers here in North Carolina, we're not happy about this."
I suspect that "this behavior" Ms. Miller is referring to is not rape but is the behavior of a 9 year old immediately before she is raped. Miller unfortunately echoes the disdain of rapists.
What this film says to children -- old enough to handle a movie where a child is harmed -- is that people they know can find excuses to exploit a child's innocence. In the movie Hounddog, it is a child mimicking Elvis, in real life it might be a 9 year old swinging on the playground with no awareness of how her movements are perceived by a clean-cut sexual predator supervising his own children.
Viewers of Hounddog will learn that lecturing children on morality is no way to prevent them from being raped.
This misrepresentation of the movie Hounddog is beginning to spread like a virus.
Living His Life Abundantly: New Movie Normalizes Child Rape furthers the distortion.
A new movie to be released Sept. 19 is causing outrage among pro-family groups because it features a nine year old girl being raped, a scene which the film’s director describes as an innocent experience.
The director did not describe the rape of a child as an innocent experience. She made that statement about the actions of Dakota Fanning's character prior to her rape. The actions of a 9 year-old-child. Not the actions of a teenage rapist. Not the rape.
Rick Schatz, president and CEO of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, cited in this second article needs to get more reliable sources. Those who distort Deborah Kampmeier's words need to stop their slander or they need to take a reading comprehension refresher course.
“Once again, Hollywood is irresponsibly promoting sexual encounters with minors that not only influences our culture but actually normalizes this egregious behavior in our society.”
Mr. Schatz, Hounddog is not promoting sexual encounters with minors. The "encounter" as you put it is rape. To call it anything less is to make the fictional 9-year-old rape victim as guilty as her rapist. You are against normalizing "egregious behavior" but apparently you are for the normalizing of rape denial because that's exactly what you are doing with the wording of your statement.
Also on this bashing bandwagon is Whole Kids Project.
Rape has already been normalized as indicated by the number of sexual assaults that happen each year, which according to RAINN was 272,350 in 2006 not counting victims age 12 or younger. Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12. That means that the 272,350 sexual assaults listed is only about 85% of all of the sexual assaults in 2006.
More than one quarter million sexual assaults. In 1 year. Most of these acts of violence are committed by someone the victim knows. Family, friends, teachers, preachers, etc.
The movie Hounddog isn't what makes these horrific statistics a reality. Neither is the movie Bastard Out of Carolina. The book and movie Lolita have a more mixed impact because of the number of people who view a child rapist's POV as reality and refuse to see that the character Lolita is an innocent crime victim.
Please, all those taking action against the movie Hounddog spend at least as much time and effort fighting real rape including rapes committed by so-called good Christians. Make sure your organizations and churches have sexual violence response policies in place which exempt nobody from investigation, including the leaders, so that no sex offenders in your midst can be protected though denial and a subsequent refusal to investigate or a refusal to report allegations to the police.
I suspect most members of these so-called values groups would see me as anti-family or anti-Christian even though I am neither.
I am anti-rape which most people claim to be, but I am also against actions which contribute to the silencing of rape victims' voices. This CWA call to action unfortunately falls under the silencing category whether they intended it to or not.
Note: This Values Voter Summit where Ms. Miller of CWA went to spread the word about Hounddog is also where an Obama Waffle mix, packaged using multiple racist stereotypes and distortions, sold quite well from the Thursday of the summit until sometime Saturday when organizers who previously approved of this product changed their minds.
Back to the discussion of Hounddog, CWA wants people to contact:
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Office of the Attorney General: (202) 353-1555
If you disagree with the CWA call to action, please consider contacting the AG's office to voice your opposition to what CWA is trying to do. Besides voicing your opinion about CWA's silencing efforts, ask the AG's office to do more to fight real child rape, real child porn and real rape against older victims. Let them know that you are willing to have your taxes spent on real sex crime enforcement and real prevention.
Please call your local movie theater and respectfully ask them exactly why they are not showing Hounddog. It looks like the booking of Hounddog has been delayed, at least in Philadelphia.
If you or anyone else don't want to see this film, that's fine. Just make your choice based on the reality of Hounddog not the fear-mongering rumors being spread by people who admit that they are passing judgement on a movie based on hearsay from an unnamed "reliable source" who allegedly watched this movie.