Rape is Still Rape, Even When Done by a Rock God

The third week of the first month of 2016 started with the death of a legend. 69 year old David Bowie lost his battle with cancer. His death unleashed a series of anticipated news articles, interviews, videos, and gif sets celebrating the man Ricky Gervais referred to as a "Rock God".

His death also resuscitated and popularized this post, a nostalgic memoir of Lori Mattix, who lost her virginity to Bowie when she was only fourteen years old. Mattix did not regret her sexual encounters with Bowie. She fondly referred to that period as the highlight of her life.

Mattix (left) circa 1972

Herein lies the problem.

There is a significant difference in the brain development of someone who is entering early adolescence (as Mattix was, at the time of the abuse) and that of someone who is already an adult. This is why a fourteen year old should not have sex with a twenty-six year old. While Mattix may have agreed to having sex with Bowie, as a child, she was incapable of consenting to him.

As a young teenager, Mattix was exploited and abused by several powerful men. In fact, her relationship with Jimmy Page is the classic example of an abusive relationship between an adult and a minor. Yet, she still refuses to label it as such.

Page (center) and Mattix (right) circa 1973

Survivors react to abuse in different ways. Factor in the differences between the way people viewed female sexuality in the 60's and 70's to the way it's viewed today and things get even more complicated.

One must remember, however, that the age of consent in the 1970's was sixteen. Mattix was one of the famous "baby groupies", christened as such because it was no secret they were underage. Page even kept his relationship with her hidden from the public eye. He was well aware that it was illegal.

Mattix's recollection of her relationship with Bowie is deeply disturbing. "I was really special. I knew it the night after I lost my virginity to David Bowie, when I went to see his concert at Long Beach Arena." She says. This is the typical behavior of a child abuser. They create willing victims by making them feel special and loved.

One should not be surprised that Mattix refuses to acknowledge what happened to her is rape, even if it fits the legal definition of the crime. Her abuser was rich, powerful, and influential. Their sexual encounters gave her fame and happiness. None of that excuses Bowie's actions. None of that will change the fact that he had sex with a naive young girl who was incapable of consenting to him.

Treat David Bowie the same way you would treat any other statutory rapist without Bowie's fame and wealth. Strip him of his sainthood. He may be an influential musician, but he was not a saint.

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