True Story: Meet Brother Dean Saxton, The Slut-Shaming Preacher Who Thinks “God Laughs At Your Rape”

I have been doing the porn convention circuit since 2013. We have done shows in so many cities, from Fort Lauderdale, to Chicago, to Edison, New Jersey. But never in my life have I experienced anything like what went down last weekend in Texas, at Exxxotica’s first Dallas convention. I was excited by the idea of hanging out in a new city and meeting new people. And to think I call this a job! Well, it felt a little more like a job this time. Why? Because of insane Christian protesters. I get that Texas is a red state, but I would have never imagined that on my way in to work I would be told that I DESERVE rape, or that God “created AIDS to get rid of whores like me.”

Listen, I believe in the first amendment. I believe in the right to protest. If a group of Christians wants to come to a porn convention to try to save my soul, I’m actually not even that mad about it. The XXX Church is at every convention and they are very sweet people, even if they wish I had any job other than the one I have. But this other group from Dallas was different. They had signs that said things like: “AIDS: Judgment or Cure?” and “GOD LAUGHS AT YOUR RAPE.” As the survivor of sexual trauma, that last one hit hard.

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This group of people felt weirdly reminiscent of the Westboro Baptist Church. In my opinion, Westboro’s whole goal is to push the first amendment as far as they can, get people angry — ideally, angry enough that someone will touch them. Because, as a family of lawyers, then they can and will sue. This group seemed to take a page out of their playbook.

One lesson I have learned over the years is that it isn’t a great idea to actually engage with every type of crazy, no matter how wrong they are and how right I may be. I did take photos of the protesters, but I wasn’t about to go scream back at them just because they were hollering hateful things at me. One girl at the convention did decide to scream back at them– she was punched so hard that she had a black eye the next day. And no, none of the protesters were arrested. Why? Because it’s Texas, I guess.

I posted the photo of a man holding a sign that said “YOU DESERVE RAPE,” on my Facebook, just to show my friends and family how cruel people can be to sex workers. A friend who works for VICE, Jaime “Lee Curtis” Taete, sent me a link to a story he did about the exact guy holding the rape sign. This “slut-shaming preacher” is clearly hard to forget.

His name is Brother Dean Saxton. He frequently terrorizes students on the campus of the University of Arizona. He harasses students so much that there is a petition with almost 3,000 signatures asking the University to put a stop to it. Am I doing the wrong thing by giving this guy even the tiniest bit of publicity? Maybe. But this isn’t just about him. He wasn’t alone. There were other protesters there, too, screaming about hell, AIDS, rape and whores, and telling me and my fellow convention attendees that we would burn in hell because “Jesus hates sluts!” (It’s unclear which part of the Bible that’s in. I think they forgot that Jesus hung out with prostitutes.) I feel a responsibility, especially as someone with a platform, to call bigots like this out.

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As the victim of sexual violence, I feel surprisingly strong. People like Brother Dean Saxton and his ilk don’t make me feel weak and sad. I am proud of who I am and what I’ve been through. Proud that I have come far enough in my recovery from sexual trauma to not believe what these horrible people said about me, about us as women, as survivors. The way you dress doesn’t mean you “deserve” to be raped. And my lifestyle doesn’t mean I deserve it either.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. I guess this is true for the assholes, too.