Published June 02, 2010
"Twilight" actress Kristen Stewart hates the spotlight and has done everything in her power to shy away from reporters, photographers, and paparazzi when it comes to her personal life and rumored romance with leading costar Robert Pattinson.
But Stewart needs to know that there's a big difference between being hounded by the media and being raped, say rape victims' advocates who were offended recently by remarks the "Twilight" actress made in the July edition of British Elle magazine.
“It's so... The photos are so… I feel like I'm looking at someone being raped. A lot of the time I can't handle it,” the 20-year-old actress said when asked how she feels about being photographed in her everyday life. “I never expected that this would be my life.”
Stewart further explained that life as a celebrity can become a too intense at any given moment because the cameras can be plentiful and ruthless.
"What you don't see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction,” she lamented.
So is the acclaimed young actress simply speaking out of turn when she likens her experience to rape?
Katherine Hull, a spokesperson on behalf of Rape and Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.) thinks so, telling FOX411.com that “Kristen Stewart's comments are regrettable. Portraying a rape survivor in the film ‘Speak’ should have led her to use a more appropriate metaphor to describe the intrusive nature of the paparazzi. Rape is more than an intrusion, it's a violent crime, that causes serious long term mental health effects for victims.”
Similarly, Margaret Lazarus, the executive director of RapeIs.org, who has written extensively about violence against women, thinks Stewart may need to reevaluate her word choice the next time she sounds off to the press.
“Rape is a violation in which one has no choice. A star seeking publicity has choices,” Lazarus told Fox411.com. “Although rape involves loss of privacy, loss of privacy does not constitute rape. Let's use a little logical thinking here.”
Neil Irwin, Executive Director of the Men Can Stop Rape Organization, said that “Kristen Stewart equating her experience of the paparazzi with rape is like comparing a needle to a knife. While there is a connection – both involve a loss of control – we at Men Can Stop Rape know from hearing the stories of sexual assault survivors that the degree of hurt caused by rape is greater. Out of respect for these survivors, we would suggest using a more appropriate word, like ‘violation.’”
Some Hollywood media pros think Stewart’s words should be taken with a grain of salt, however.
“I get her point. It's like she's trying to say something that is hers--her identity and privacy--has been taken away and is now in the hands and control of someone else,” said pop culture expert and entertainment writer Jennifer Cady. “So I understand she's trying as best she can to say she feels violated. Yeah the word ‘raped’ is really strong and she probably should have used something less severe, but sometimes you have to use hyperbole to get your point across.”
The host of Clevver TV, Joslyn Davis, agreed.
“Making comparisons between difficult and challenging life experiences, and the horror of rape is never acceptable. While there is no doubt that Kristen Stewart's recent comment was offensive to rape victims, her statement does bring up a different controversy all together,” Davis said. “Many young super-celebrities, like Stewart, are faced with overwhelming attention, undesired exposure, and constant badgering at the hands of the media. Granted, some level of media coverage is par for the course in Hollywood. Stewart notes her disappointment in the fact that her public persona, and the way the world views her, is the product of a few quotes to bizarre questions after non-stop taunting and photographs taken without permission or invitation. It's a daily challenge.”