Star of The Real World: Atlanta, MTV's reboot of the '90s classic The Real World, Tovah Marx recently opened up about her experience of being raped at the age of 16. She shared details of what happened to her in order to empathize with and support any other women who've also survived sexual assault.
The Real World: Atlanta is the Facebook Watch reboot of The Real World, a reality show that premiered in 1992 and followed the lives of seven strangers living in a home together. The reboot is a bit different from the original in that it's not on traditional cable and is more interactive. While it's got a new look and feel, the show is still committed to bringing together unlikely strangers to discuss important issues like race and social justice. This season's cast includes a DACA recipient, a queer Muslim woman, a black activist, a gay conservative black man, a fourth-generation farmer, a domestic abuse survivor, and, of course, at least one virgin. Everyone has already begun to share their personal stories on the show, with Marx opening up about her experience with sexual assault in a recent episode.
In the new episode, as well as a lengthy and personal interview with MTV News, Marx explained that when she had sex for the first time at the age of 16, it wasn't by choice. She'd only kissed a few boys up until that point and had been talking to a guy, with whom she wasn't in any kind of romantic relationship, that lived in her neighborhood. One day, he got particularly insistent on having sex, to which Marx said no. Despite her protests, the two had sex, and despite Marx saying no during the sexual encounter, the boy persisted. Later, she received text messages from him that read, "I raped you and dropped you ... I took your virginity by rape, have a great f***ed up life."
It wouldn't be until she was 22 that Marx would accept that what happened to her was rape, and about a full decade later until she would feel comfortable speaking publicly about it. While she was at first ashamed of the sexual assault, she's now processing her feelings surrounding it and wants to speak out and "own it." She told MTV News that she feels as though she was permanently damaged by the incident, saying, “I don’t think I ever associate sex and love.” Following her sexual assault, Marx went through a period of having a lot of sex in order to secure a sense of agency. According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Vice President of Victim Services Keeli Sorenson, who spoke with MTV News, this kind of reaction is normal for people who've lost their virginity through rape. Survivors can often be "hypersexual or [close] themselves off to that part of life entirely," Sorenson said. Marx is glad she's able to tell her story now so others might be more comfortable talking about their own assaults.
Sharing what happened to her was a big part of why Marx wanted to appear on The Real World: Atlanta, and she's grateful to be given a platform on which to tell it. Viewers will have to tune into the new series to see what other important and emotional stories the roommates share with one another. The reboot is already proving to be as moving and impactful as its '90s counterpart.
The Real World: Atlanta airs every Thursday on Facebook Watch.
Source: MTV News