Five days ago, I posted a blog headed Feminist female comedians agree there are different types of rape in Edinburgh
There has been quite a lot of reaction to some of what comedy critic Kate Copstick said in that blog.
Yesterday, comedy critic Corry Shaw sent this reaction, which she headed as:
An open letter to Kate Copstick from a smaller female voice in comedy
Corry prefaced it with the words:
“This was incredibly hard to write and share but I think it is hugely important that it is expressed.”
I felt obliged to write directly to you as I have complained myself over the years about industry friends and colleagues sniping behind my back about reviews I’ve written and things I’ve done that they’ve never raised directly with me. And as I have drawn attention to John Fleming’s piece about rape I felt it only right to raise my concerns with you.
Firstly a bit of background. I was raped when I was 14 by an 17 year old boy that I really liked. We’d been out in a big group and he offered to walk me to the bus stop. We took a detour through the Meadows and he kissed me. I kissed him back feeling like the luckiest girl in the world that a boy I liked wanted to kiss me. Now, I was done up like only a 14 year old wanting to be an 18 year old could be, short skirt, too much make up. And I really, really liked him.
It wasn’t until he started to remove my tights that I realised he wanted more than I was willing to give. I pushed his hands away and told him no. I was laughing and trying to make light of it firstly because I didn’t want to scare him off and secondly because I was terrified. He stopped and we continued kissing. Then he started again and I said no again, firmer this time and he ignored me. I tried to pull away from him and he dragged me to a parked car (down the alley as you enter the Meadows) and bent me backwards over the bonnet. I was 14 as I say, and a hell of a lot smaller than I am now. He held my two wrists behind my head pushed down onto the car bonnet and ripped my tights off. At this point I had stopped saying no. I was crying. He never hit me or pulled a knife on me. When he was finished he stood up and pulled his trousers up and asked if I could lend him £10 to get a taxi home. Which I gave to him.
That was my rape.
It took me 2 years to confide in anyone that it had happened because I felt very much like it was my fault. I fancied this guy, had dressed up nicely to get his attention and had happily taken a detour to snog him. I even gave him money after the event. I absolutely knew that something wrong had happened but I was convinced it was my fault.
You may think that your brash, unlikeable, ball breaker persona means that the comments that you make will always be taken with a pinch of salt, or you may not even have that humanity left in you, you may just not care how they are taken. But I know about your work in Africa and it terrifies me that the vulnerable women that you work with over there could be subjected to the opinions that you have stated in that interview.
You are for better or for worse a very influential voice in comedy and there are a multitude of new open spots who are embracing the ‘rape joke’ again. It is absolutely abhorrent and irresponsible of you to spread these dangerous and damaging opinions. And, speaking personally, incredibly hurtful.
I am a strong woman now, I have buried my demons and am comfortable talking about my experience as I’ve found it helps other people dealing with sexual assault, especially when there is guilt attached.
My rapist was never charged, it was never reported to the police. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind he would have gone on to do it again and that is the guilt I live with now. Your statements are exactly the type of thinking that will prevent others reporting their rapes, leaving rapists free to continue ruining people’s lives.
If you have not already done so I would really like to ask you to consider issuing an apology to anyone you may have offended and I would also like you to seriously rethink your position on what is one of the most demeaning and hateful crimes.