Rape Culture in the Music Industry and Beyond: A Public Letter [NSFW]

TRIGGER WARNING:

This article contains a very personal and graphic letter.

I was recently told something so unsettling that tears came to my eyes. My heart lodged itself in my throat. My brain felt numb and cold. I had just been informed that two people in my life had sexually assaulted one of the strongest women I knew – two men who I once considered friends. Months had passed since the incident as she removed herself from friends, activities, and even a job she’d grown to love; her workplace was shared with one of the abusers as well, and served as a frequent hang out spot for the other. When this situation first came to light, we were in a group of people who happened to be mutual friends with both individuals. I immediately noticed the similarities in responses – quick to defend and even quicker to downplay the situation. This is where the first response is crucial, because reactions are what can stop someone from believing they have a right to speak up or seek help at all.

What I have heard:

“I just don’t believe [Blank] would do that!”

“Are you sure?”

“Maybe [Blank] didn’t know you really didn’t want it.”

What I have not heard:

“Is she alright?”

“I will do something about this.”

“This is uncalled for.”

I immediately understood why she hadn’t reached out sooner; she felt like what happened to her wouldn’t matter. It was her word vs theirs, especially since the two involved were well known and accepted in our community. The normalization of this behavior, especially within the entertainment industry, is toxic because of how oblivious our reactions can be.

Agreeing to intimacy under a certain state of mind does not mean that consent applies from then on out. Saying yes once does not mean you are accepting of behavior once you are no longer comfortable. If she is passed out, consent is GONE. If he pushes you away, consent is no longer yours. Maybe you felt like you shouldn’t have flirted, or you shouldn’t have partied. Maybe you saw something happening that you knew was wrong, and didn’t know how to stop it.

Creating a dialogue is the only way to bring these issues to light and to stop sexual violence together. Not only can awareness change perspective, but it also encourages bystanders to become allies in these situations. When it comes to life and death, doing the wrong thing or not doing enough can be detrimental. Hesitation in doing the right thing can be the difference between damaging someone mentally and physically. Someone whose life will never be the same again.

This is a call to unite in our communities. To stand up to sexual violence of all kinds, and to prevent it from happening to anyone and everyone. We have the power to shape our scene, and we can use that same power to protect those within it. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, do not hesitate to reach out to these hotlines and networks below. I am also available on email directly. Only by listening can we be there for one another.

 

National Sexual Assault Hotline (24/7)

Call 1-800-656-4673

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Call 717.909.0710

3 Comments

on “Rape Culture in the Music Industry and Beyond: A Public Letter [NSFW]
3 Comments on “Rape Culture in the Music Industry and Beyond: A Public Letter [NSFW]
  1. If you actually want to protect people you need to name the rapist not merely virtue single. How do you think Harvey Weinstein did his thing for 25+ years. Be the change you want to see in the world!

    • @Anon: We are withholding names unless she decides to take legal action – we refuse to do anything that she is not 100% comfortable with until given consent.

  2. If one of her friends anonymously started a Go Fund Me for donations towards counseling I’m sure people would help. No woman should have to go through this without professional help.

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