This post deals with sexual assault, and could be triggering for some readers.
This morning I woke up to the news that Chris Noth, the man who plays Big in Sex And The City, has been accused of sexual assault by two women.
My initial reaction was shock and then my first thought was, “Oh, I really liked him,” because I did.
He was the main love interest in my favourite show. I’d also found him surprisingly likeable and unlike his character when he was on the podcast about the series, Origins.
He seemed more relaxed and funny. Someone you’d like to have a beer with and less polished than his character on Sex And The City. So the allegations today totally shocked me.
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It’s always hard to comprehend when one of your favourite celebrities is accused of something horrible.
It’s hard to reconcile that someone who is a sex symbol or on a television show - hilarious comedian, incredible actor or someone we look up to or see as a role model - could also be capable of sexual assault.
I can still remember when the Bill Cosby allegations broke. As someone that grew up watching reruns of The Cosby Show, it just felt unbelievable.
But, of course, it ended up being true.
I remember where I was when I learned Jarrod Haynes was charged with rape. He was beloved and celebrated and it seemed incomprehensible. But, if I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense.
Because every man that has ever sexually assaulted me has been likeable.
I think it’s important to note that so far these allegations against Noth are just that - allegations.
He hasn’t been found guilty, and he vehemently denied the claims.
Perhaps I’m biased, because their stories reminded me of my own. I’ve been the girl who has been flattered by a guy’s attention, enjoyed some flirty exchanges he has then done something I haven’t consented to and it’s left me feeling stupid and violated.
Of course, it was never my fault, but it’s hard not to blame yourself. Hard to wonder why you didn’t have some kind of instinct that this man was bad.
The thing is, though - men who commit sexual assault can also be funny, smart, kind, interesting and charismatic.
They can be your boyfriend or your best friend or your favourite actor and that is the scariest part about it.
I’ve been sexually assaulted a few times in my life and it has mostly been by someone I have known and trusted, and even by someone I have loved. That is the hardest pill to swallow.
To understand that the person most likely to violate you isn’t a creepy man you’ve never met but rather a cute man that just asked you out on a date.
I think the biggest trend you’ll notice when men are accused of sexual assault is that people like to come out in support of them, friends, family co-workers.
They like to tell you stories of how they are a good mate, or friend or employee. Perhaps he was the guy that always made everyone laugh, perhaps he has always been a champion of equal pay, perhaps he is really close to his sister and involved heavily in his nieces’ life.