Sexism, objectivation, bullying, sexual abuse — it’s not that common to talk or even think about them, but lots of people face them in their everyday life. October of 2017 showed us, how disastrous the situation is in the music industry. Stories that were kept secret for years burst forth and filled up the media: inspired by the courage of others, artists started to share what they’ve been through.
On the morning of October, the 13th LA producer Gaslamp Killer was accused of drugging and raping two women four years ago. Only a few hours later indie band Real Estate made a statement, saying their ex-guitarist Matt Mondanile was fired in February 2016 when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to their attention. In the afternoon Brooklyn indie label Captured Tracks announced it dropped musician Alex Calder (ex-member of Mac DeMarco’s Makeout Videotape) following a sexual assault allegation against him.
Why is this happening?
One of the most eloquent was a story told by ex-member of Crystal Castles Alice Glass. In a letter posted on her official website she told about numerous examples of physical and moral abuse, she experienced from the founder of the band Ethan Kath, whom she met when she was in the 10th grade. These stories showcase the reason to remain silent for so many years and also demonstrate how often the victims of the abuse can be clueless of the abuse itself.
photo: Helena Christensen for Vs. Magazine
“The first time he took advantage of me was when I was around 15” — tells Alice. “We didn’t talk for months after that. He went to great lengths to find me again, stalking me and driving past my high school looking for me. He tracked me down and showed up in places I was hanging out and we eventually reconnected. I was very young and naive and in a compromised position in my life. I perceived him as a local rock star because I had seen his band, Kill Cheerleader, on TV. A lot of my friends from the punk scene had also been taken advantage of by much older men, so to me, it was a situation that had been normalized”.
Romanticizing of stalking, society blaming victims for what happened to them, and power in the hands of people, who can’t manage it — these are only a few reasons, why sexual abuse still exist, and why it’s still not adequately discussed. Because if you look at the number of stories, that were published during last month, can you imagine how many of them are in the world?
The majority of stories told, are told by women — due to social stereotypes of men being unlikely to be open about such things. Still, the problem affects both genders. In a recent interview, Tom Jones admitted he faced sexual abuse at the start of his career: “What’s tried on women is tried on men as well”. And according to journalist Neil Lyndon “…it’s not that simple. Men whose sexual desires are out of control also prey on men; and it can happen, too, that women in positions of power will take advantage of men”. There is this illusion existing solely heterosexual relationship between a ‘strong man’ and a ‘weak woman’, that makes people forget, that everyone can become a victim as well as an abuser.
photo: Ian West/PA
Presumption of guilt
Usually, charged offenders deny they have anything to do with the accusations. Ex-member of Makeout Videotape Alex Calder became an exception. On his Facebook page he wrote: “In the last year, I have come to understand the sexual encounter I had with this person was non-consensual and constituted assault. At the time, I had thought that my actions were consensual and now understand that this was not the case. This encounter did not meet the criteria for getting consent. I abused this person, and I have not held myself accountable for this”.
When we hear abuse stories, we’re more likely to believe victims, not offenders. Maybe because it sounds ridiculous, that someone sane could fabricate a tale about being raped. However, if people can use violence for personal use, can they use slander as well? And if so, how can a defendant prove his innocence? That sums, the fact that sexual harassment needs to be not only publicly discussed, but also properly investigated.
Why do we need keep talking about sexual abuse
For the last month, everything that has been told on this subject showed the scale of the problem, not only in the film or music industry but in the world at large. Why shouldn’t we stop here? Because people blaming victims still exist. Because there are still victims, that are too afraid to talk about, what’s happened. And because we need to do our best for young artists to realize: no success is worth your own life, and to encourage them to choose the path of independence.