It's really rare that I click through to read a story, and leave it thinking, "I wish I hadn't done that." It's a point of pride that I'm not willing to rely on headlines and seek the truth in its entirety.
Maria Nemeth's murder, however, is one of those stories.
I'm not going to delve into details here. They are readily available in actual news sources. Be forewarned: They are the most terrible murder details I have ever read. They read like a scene from a truly fucked up horror movie, not something that should have happened in real life.
No, the details aren't what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about today is how the term "rough sex" corrupts the narrative, and the shitty situation that is using a murderer's own terminology to describe an act like this.
[I am pausing at this point to, once again, emphasize that this is a violent, brutal, and terrible story. I will not delve into specifics, but I will be referring to rape, murder, and some other terrible, terrible things. If you are uncomfortable with this topic, please stop reading here and do not progress past the jump. No judgement here. Self-care is important.]
Let me be upfront.
Maria Nemeth was raped, violently and viciously, to death.
She did not consent to the actions that were performed on her body, the actions that caused her death.
Corrupting that narrative with the idea of "rough sex" is ridiculous, irresponsible, and disgusting.
I mulled over whether or not to cover this story all night, so today I went hesitantly to Google. Here's the first headline on the subject that caught my eye:
I was already disgusted after reading the story on Gawker yesterday, but this headline...this headline infuriated me.
And then I began to notice those two words "rough sex" coming up over and over again in the coverage of it...
It was here in the URL for one of the first sources I found that covered the story, although it wasn't in the headline here.
Then there was this bit:
And then it became clear that the narrative was already being corrupted like a game of telephone played by especially incompetent children:
Let me be perfectly clear: The idea that "rough sex" factored into this story at all is disgusting. IT IS DISGUSTING.
Rough sex, enjoyed by consenting partners around the world at any given time, doesn't result in murder. Murder does. And the idea that we would apply the term "rough sex" to this scenario is just--it's infuriating. Where did this woman consent? Where did she consent to having this done?
And even if she, perhaps, consented to rough sex...she did not consent to the rest of her partner's deranged and unhinged homicidal actions, so this is not a "rough sex" murder. This is a woman who was raped.to.death.
And let's talk about that for a second. I see a lot of mention about "rough sex", but you know what no one--NO ONE--has mentioned that I have seen.
Florida includes rape under its sexual battery statutes, defined as such:
As required by the Florida statute on sexual battery, the prosecutor must show that the defendant engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal penetration of the victim with a sexual organ or another object.
That's what this was--NOT ROUGH SEX. I really can't emphasize that enough.
The second aspect of this that's concerning--besides the media's fascination with the idea of "rough sex" murder--is that calling this a rough sex murder means that you have to completely erase any voice the victim may have.
What, you say? How?
Because the ONLY PERSON CALLING IT ROUGH SEX IS THE MONSTER THAT RAPED MARIA NEMETH TO DEATH.
Lopez, the rapist-murderer, is the ONLY ONE saying that it was rough sex. He claimed--at least initially--that the woman consented, and asked for rough sex, including fisting and penetration by foreign objects. That she wanted it. That she liked it.
And it very well MAY be true--there are women that want and like those things. But there is a very, very, VERY big problem with taking the word of a rapist-murderer about what his victim wanted. I would say that about any case, but especially in the case of a woman who was so horribly, brutally, violated and murdered.
If you have reported on this story using the term "rough sex"--if you have in any way implied that "rough sex" played a role--if you have somehow implied that the victim wanted "rough sex"--CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE VALIDATED THE STORY OF A RAPIST-MURDERER!
And you are despicable, or at least, your actions are.
I truly can't think of a more biased source for the information that the monster that just raped a woman to death. I can't. And yet there are "news" sources taking this information as fact, spreading it as fact.
Every story I encountered on this--with the exception of Gawker--mentioned the rough sex angle. Very few did as those last three examples and put it in context as the word of a rapist-murderer. Those sources that did not contextualize this statement should be absolutely, thoroughly ashamed of their journalist work.
Please do not allow the voices of rapists and murderers to drown out the voices of their victims.
Maria Nemeth did not consent to this. She did not consent to being brutally raped and murdered.
She's not alive to tell her story, but let's let this refrain ring true: Maria did not consent to this. This was not "rough sex".