Actress Charlize Theron risked the wrath of women’s rights campaigners by comparing life in the Hollywood spotlight to rape. During an interview with Sky News, the Oscar-winning actress was asked whether she reads coverage of herself on the Internet and she insisted she tries to avoid looking up stories online.
She went on to compare coverage of her private life to being sexually violated, saying, “I don’t do that (Google myself). So that’s my saving grace. I think it’s when you start living in that world and doing that that you start, I guess, feeling raped.”
Theron, who adopted a son in 2012, recently hit headlines when her new relationship with actor Sean Penn became public, but the Monster star explains she tries to keep her family time private and doesn’t understand why some celebrities publicize their personal lives.
She adds, “When it comes to your son and your private life (I keep it private), maybe that’s just me, some people might relish in all of that kind of stuff (but) there are certain things in my life that I think of as very sacred and I’m very protective over them, that doesn’t mean I always win that war, but as long as I don’t have to see that stuff or read that stuff or hear that stuff… Then I can live with my head in a clear space. That’s probably a lot healthier…
“My job has made my live incredibly blessed and good and I am very grateful for that but that doesn’t mean that every aspect of my life becomes fodder for an article. I try to protect that as much as I can.”
Well, as you’d expect, the backlash came very swiftly after Charlize’s remarks. The actress was branded “irresponsible and dangerous” by a leading British sex crime campaigner after comparing life in the spotlight to rape. The comments infuriated campaigners, who have criticized the actress and demanded an apology.
Jill Saward, the victim of the notorious ‘Ealing Vicarage Rape’ in London in 1986, who now campaigns on behalf of sex attack victims, was stunned by Theron’s remarks. She says, “I thought it was absolutely abhorrent. I was really shocked and disgusted by what she said. I would have thought that being in the situation she had been in, campaigning for (victims of) rape, she definitely would know better. It seems almost like she is doing it to get the publicity, but I found it highly offensive.
“Rape is so much more than an invasion of your privacy… To compare the two is not on… I think she needs to apologize. I think that this has been incredibly damaging for women who have been raped… She has done a lot of damage. I think what she has done is very irresponsible and very dangerous.”
Saward hit headlines in 1986 when she was identified as the victim of a gang of burglars who broke into a vicarage in Ealing, London, and assaulted her father and boyfriend before raping her.
A spokeswoman for campaign group Rape Crisis tells Wenn, “It trivializes sexual violence and it completely fails to recognize the impact rape has on the lives of survivors.”
One Twitter user wrote, “She should try telling that to a real rape victim”, and another added, “How stupid to comment about press intrusion the same as being raped. Makes my blood boil!!”
Twilight actress Kristen Stewart issued a public apology in 2010 after she made remarks comparing the media intrusion in her life to sexual assault, while veteran star Kim Novak was criticized by women’s groups after she used the word “rape” when talking about the similarities between The Artist‘s film score and the music from her 1958 classic Vertigo.