I didn't see this posted, but today we woke to the news that a college freshman who decided to perform in an adult video committed suicide after vicious cyber bullying and slut shaming.
Alyssa Funke was a straight A student and decided to make the video for whatever reason. shortly afterward, her former high school classmates found it and began mercilessly tormenting her.
She had had a history of depression, and her parents believe that the cyberbullying contributed to her suicide on April 16. They have set up a fund to help combat cyberbullying. To date they have only raised $165.
Local police have said they won't seek criminal charges as the comments Funke received on social media don't meet their definition of criminal harassment.
Allyson Funke was not the only college student who has done porn. There are many who perform currently, only we don't know about them. For this exact reason.
One who we do know about, Belle Knox, was recently the subject of national news stories. A freshman at Duke, she was outed by a member of a fraternity and subject to relentless slut shaming. But she went public with articles and interviews, and she still performs.
Hearing about Allyson's suicide, Belle Knox wrote an open letter on xojane.com. It was so popular and generated so many hits, the site totally crashed.
In it, she identifies with Alyssa in more ways than one:
Dear Alyssa,Fair use prevents me from quoting more, but she talks about how, because she had said she feels "empowered" by performing that she is being criticized for "leading girls astray". Here is one of her strongest points:
When I first heard your story, my eyes immediately filled with tears. A rush of emotions overwhelmed me: outrage, anger, shock and then, a sort of humming dread and disgust. Inside my chest, I felt a gnawing sensation. My body shivered.
That could’ve been how it all ended for me, too, I thought to myself.
We were both straight A students. Like you, I have battled depression for years. I too was a freshman in college when I was outed as a porn performer. We even shot for the same website, where I had an experience that traumatized me to this day. And, just like you, I was bullied relentlessly by my fellow students for my actions as a porn performer. I was threatened with death, rape, and heinous acts of violence. I was called every derogatory name in the book -- every horrible epithet that society slings at sexual women.
I have not talked about this much, but I will tell you, Alyssa, that soon after I was outed, when the bullying and the harassment was at its worse, after being so strong for so long, I broke down, laid in bed, and I cried. I thought about the look on my parents' faces when they would inevitably discover my profession. I thought about how I would forever be the porn star, and my college experience would never be the same. I felt stained as forever "less than." My world was imploding. I felt the most depressed I have ever felt in my whole life. I felt so very overwhelmed, isolated, and helpless. My mind ventured to its darkest corners.
I wanted to just die. I fantasized of what this would do to my bullies and tormenters. I went to the most morbid places I ever thought possible.
The headline even flashed before my eyes: "Duke porn star commits suicide."
Until our society's first inclination is not to verbally stone and shame a woman to death for participating in pornography, it will always be a deadly business.Think about that. Even supposed "feminists" look down on those who perform in porn. Feminists slut shame them by insisting they are "objectifying themselves" and that "they don't know what they're doing".
She closes with this:
It's time that we end slut shaming and treat sex workers with respect and tolerance. How many more people need to die before we realize that the hatred needs to end?Or as another college student performer put it,
"I mean, it's fucking 2014 -- people should have a little bit more of an open mind about porn"