Last night the cast of Bachelor in Paradise sat down to discuss the incident between Corinne and DeMario and Raven opened up about her own past experiences.
As a reminder, production was originally shut down on Bachelor in Paradise after allegations came forward that DeMario had sexually assaulted Corinne, who was too drunk to consent. After an investigation by the Bachelor peeps, filming continued and they started hyping up the incident as something they would confront on the show.
We were super concerned about how they would handle the incident in question, and for good reason. The premiere of Bachelor in Paradise treated it more like a dramatic plot point than a serious incident. But after the second episode, Chris Harrison sat with the cast to have a much more serious conversation about consent, assault, and whether DeMario’s race played a factor in the public’s reactions. The cast actually managed to have a decent conversation on the topic and the most notable part was when Raven opened up about her own sexual assault. She said,
“I was in a very abusive relationship, and there was a point where I was sexually assaulted, so I guess that’s why I took this kind of really personally. So I hope this situation doesn’t deter actual victims from coming forward and really speaking their truth and getting help and asking for help. I hope this doesn’t deter anybody.”
We really applaud Raven’s bravery in coming forward — it’s hard for any survivor to be so public. But we have to cringe at the phrase “actual victims,” implying that Corinne is not a victim herself.
Listen, we’re not saying that DeMario maliciously intended to take advantage of Corinne. But the matter of fact is that Corinne was too drunk to consent. She later confirmed that she does not remember that night at all. If you cannot say “yes,” then you cannot consent. Corinne was sexually assaulted, whether or not it was intentional.
When the allegations were first made, Raven was actually one of the cast members to defend DeMario, which many criticized. Raven said in the sit-down,
“People automatically assumed we were slut-shaming Corinne, and that was not the case at all. Our worry was for DeMario’s name and the longevity of the allegations that were being tossed around about him. That’s what we were concerned about. We felt for her. It was never calling her any names or judging her for anything she did, because we didn’t think she did anything wrong, and neither did DeMario.”
Raven does make a good argument in that DeMario will forever be branded as an assaulter after this experience. DeMario was even fired from his job as a direct result of the incident. And he faces even further stigma as a black man accused of this.
Despite all the incredibly insensitive way that Bachelor in Paradise dealt with the issue in the season premiere, we are glad that they attempted to start this kind of conversation.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.