The Billboard
May 31, 2019 2:01 PM   Subscribe

"After Stephanie Montgomery says she was raped at the strip club where she worked, she went to the manager and the police. Nothing happened. That’s when she decided to tell her story as big as she could." [CW: Descriptions of sexual assault]
posted by westface (6 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that was a hard read. The utter lack of justice for sexual assault and rape, at least formal justice, is such a common story. And it's even worse if the individual context facilitates blaming the person assaulted/raped, or casts them (in the eyes of some) as an unreliable narrator. I don't know this woman and hadn't heard her story before today but I'm so proud of her for seeking her own justice in a way that was meaningful and empowering to her.
posted by DTMFA at 3:55 PM on May 31 [9 favorites]

Just seeing the subject matter of this made me flash back to reading “The Mars Room” last year. That book burned itself into my brain. I suspect this will too.
posted by hwestiii at 4:09 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

Stephanie came to realize she’d reached the dead end of a road she had never wanted to be on in the first place. Nothing was going to happen. No justice, just another rape, the world moved on. The #MeToo movement had opened up the conversation, sure, and it had also spurred men into hyperdefensiveness and aggression, but when the smoke cleared, had anything really changed? Where were the arrests, the convictions? Did a stripper have a bigger voice, a better shot at justice than she would’ve two or five or twenty years ago?
Emphasis mine, because I have no answer, and I'm worried the truth will be awful.

This paragraph really hit me. I feel awful for Stephanie's experience, but I'm glad she was able to have a voice, find her voice, in this experience.

More from her website, A Mighty Force dot com:
A Mighty Force is a campaign to standup against injustice and assault. So many of us have been affected by rape and assault, and to make matters worse the systems established to defend its citizens are failing. We must stand for what is right and just, and be willing to take on the uncomfortable realities that exist in our world. No matter your sex, no matter your gender, no matter your job, age, race, no one has a right to violate another human being. Our way of thinking needs to change, as does the way in which victims of assault are treated.

This 48ft hand-painted billboard calls out an assault at a local club just four doors away, after months of inaction by the club and the police. Whether justice is delivered in this case, this is a call to action about dignity and justice for all people. We must meet apathy with resilience. We must meet injustice with justice. And when a system is broken, we must fight for change. We as a people can do better.

Victims of assault can face a lifetime of healing, which is why A Mighty Force will donate a portion of its proceeds from art sales ( to two organizations. RAINN, which is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and RISENOW fighting against injustice and implementing real, systemic change in governmental policy. These organizations emphasize the good in the world. Remember, we are in this together. You are not alone!

If you would like to share a bit of your personal story we’d love to hear it. With enough submissions we can compile your stories into an illustrated book to empower and uplift others on their journey to healing from assault. Thank you for your compassion, love and generous spirit.
OK, that's actually all the text up there now, other than the form itself, reposted for posterity.

And here is Stephanie Monty's artist website, and her public artist profile/ account on FaceBook, which I found looking for more on her "Monty the Monster Slayer" project.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:16 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]

I liked the billboard a lot, though it would be better if it wasn't needed.

From the descriptions in the article, that is one seriously skeevy strip club:
In the parking lot behind the club, there’s a super-VIP room, a kind of VVIP room, available to the big ballers and special friends of the owners. It looks like a concrete bunker, whitewashed cement and windowless, like some place you might store tools or auto parts. But inside there are curved couches, a private dancing booth, and a bathroom. Stephanie used to describe it as the place where you “sexily avoid being raped.”
So gross.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:53 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

over at Reddit the response would be mixed with commenters doubting the police had done nothing or pointing out the risks she’d taken working as a stripper.

argh!! typical and infuriating!!
posted by MiraK at 5:31 PM on May 31 [4 favorites]

To a certain degree, I understand how sex trade weirds people's understanding of work-place appropriateness/decorum/etc. And really, that's all the more reason for policy and laws to be clear and uniformly enforced in cities or states that allow various forms of sex work. But that's not what this case is about. This is just a rape case. It's horrifying to think how many people can't see that.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:39 PM on June 1 [2 favorites]

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