Trigger warning: rape, some description of rape.
This is more of a personal account responding to incidents that have occurred in the local Vancouver metal scene, though it does apply in a broader sense to how we deal with rape, rapists and how we encourage rape culture.
We say rape culture, and some people may be confused. No, it doesn’t mean that rape is glorified, it doesn’t mean that it is explicitly encouraged, it’s far more insiduous than that.
Rape culture tells people that some women are asking for it, that men can’t be raped, that young girls who are preyed upon by older men were old for their age, fast tailed, had somehow lured them in, that young boys are lucky to be preyed upon by older women, that other men would gladly have the same experience…
…and that rapists and those who attempt to rape others are permitted into our spaces. That it’s okay, what they did wasn’t really that bad, it’s easier to just welcome them back with open arms into our communities, into our scene.
Rape culture is telling rapists that it’s okay, they’re not really bad people, they didn’t do anything wrong, and they probably believe that those people who do welcome them back with open arms would do the same in their position.
That they would put their wants and entitlement over a woman’s autonomy, that when she said “no”, they’d ignore her, they’d keep persisting until she cried, they’d try to physically force her legs apart…
…and then they’d come to shows, facing people who knew what happened, and be treated like everything was okay. They’d get to keep their friends, keep their place in the scene, while the victim left.
By treating a rapist with acceptance you are telling the rapist that they did nothing wrong. You are telling the rapist that you would do the same thing. That you don’t hold them accountable, so why should the rapist think they did anything wrong?
Now that rapist believes that he didn’t do anything wrong. He’ll protest that he’s a good guy. Because those around him have mostly told him that exact thing by pretending that nothing happened.
Do you really think this type of predator only does something like this once? Can you honestly tell yourself that it will never happen again?
Study after study has shown that rapists are not single time offenders the majority of the time. They will do it again. They’ve probably already done it before. Usually in their late teens to early 20’s. We know how old this person is. Do the math.
I only found out about this incident a couple days ago, and have been trying to process it all ever since. I knew that we had some individuals in the scene who weren’t quite up to speed on the whole treating women as equals, but I wrote it off as a few bad apples. The ironic thing is, I only found out about this incident because I’d been talking about an article by Neill Jameson from Krieg addressing misogyny in metal culture, and I was saying how much faith I had in our local metal community.
I really do have so much faith in our scene, and right now I am just sickened and a bit heart broken. People that I held in high regard have responded to the incident with apparent indifference. That absolutely breaks my heart.
I expected better from our scene, from the awesome people within it, than to brush this stuff under the rug. We like to think we are so much better than other scenes, that because we are part of an alt scene, we’re different… but this is the status quo. Deciding that it’s easier to ignore, to not think about it, to just move on like nothing happened and to welcome back a predator into our midst with open arms is not brave. It’s weak. It’s pitiful. We’re so much better than this. I really hope we are.