It took a full month of marinating on the #MeToo campaign to know exactly what I wanted to write about it, and I’m glad I waited because this is an incredibly defining socio-cultural moment and I want us to add value to the discussion in a way that can translate to action. Within the electronic music community when allegations against The Gaslamp Killer, Drop the Lime, and Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles broke in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, the precise mechanisms of abuse were revealed in graphic, and what for me was extremely upsetting detail. By speaking up and participating in this grassroots movement, I’ve realized people are changing the norm of what’s acceptable in society – this movement is galvanizing everyone, especially men, to face the realities of what everyone who doesn’t identify as male is up against and hopefully hear our pleas to help stop this behavior and put an end to the silent, collective tolerance.
Since we can’t do this alone, I enlisted the help of my male co-workers Nathan and Neal to help me express how we’ve been feeling and how we want to see that feeling translated into collective action. If we could stop sexual abuse and discrimination without the help of our male counterparts, we definitely would have done that by now.
Molly: On October 15th, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write me too,’” a line from the Me Too movement pioneered by Tarana Burke starting back in 2006. In response, millions of women tweeted their personal stories of sexual abuse. There are so many reasons to stay silent after living through sexual trauma and now, as a result of the grassroots #MeToo movement, that culture of silence is being shattered. I feel like this can only be a good thing, society needs a rewiring to become vigilant when it comes to ending sexual abuse and discrimination because frankly this isn’t a world I, or anybody else of sound body and mind, wants to live in. Listen to Tarana talk below about how to most effectively offer support to abuse victims, conveying useful information around the topic from our personal perspectives is the core intention behind this article.
A quick PSA for the vocal minority of deniers who believe anyone would make up sexual abuse allegations for attention: I get that you don’t get how this works, you’ve probably never been a victim. Years ago, before becoming a full time raver, I went to law school, which made me a big believer in the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” Unfortunately, the legal system is just not set up to effectively deal with sexual assault and certainly not harassment crimes. Further, when it’s happened to you (and it’s happened to me) all you want to do is forget, especially if the assailant is an ongoing part of your life. To say anyone who’s just been sexually abused should have sucked it up and gone to the cops immediately is completely devoid of empathy; most of the time it simply doesn’t work that way. However, President of the National Women’s Law Center, Fatima Goss Graves, has reported twice the number of normal intake calls flooding in following the circulation of the #MeToo hashtag, which means not only are women ready to come forward on social media but also in pursuing legal action.
Nathan: One thing you have to remember when doubting if a story is true is that no person wants to relive the moment they were assaulted, especially in a public forum where they will surely be met with pushback and trolls. When someone says they were harassed, assaulted, or raped, it is imperative that you not only believe that person by offering the benefit of the doubt, but also make an active attempt to help in any way you can. In reality, men will never truly know what it’s like – the privilege you have been afforded as a man should and must be used for the betterment of society lest you contribute to the systematic problems we were all born into.
This, of course, extends beyond just call-out tactics online or passive comments made to a friend acting up in hopes that you won’t embarrass him. It means taking a real stand, a vocal “no shits given” stand to combat the “no shits given” attitude of abusers or harassers. This fire-with-fire approach may not work for some introverts or those who “don’t fare well with confrontation,” but if you were called up to fight a battle and had no other choice but to pick up arms, the bravery bone in your body would surely be there to back you up. The same goes for this battle, the battle for bringing base level dignity to over half the world’s population.
Neal: As the stories surrounding Harvey Weinstein keep dropping, the luridness of his deeds become more clear as he became the prime example in a culture of shame, going so far as to hire ex-Mossad agents to vilify his accusers and protect his integrity. This culture of American aggression has engendered itself into our planet’s ecosystem through the cultural diffusion that our global position provides, and men at the top of it like Harvey exploit their power and platforms, in his case Hollywood, to allow that culture to persist. It sickens me to think of all the people who put their hands in the air and wane about how they knew nothing, saw nothing, could do nothing. We all saw something, knew something, could do something. Complicity is in the hushed rumors we never followed up on and in allowing this culture to keep us silent. Now, we are doing something, all of us together, and there is still more we can do.
The social power of the #MeToo revolution is bringing abusers to great reckonings with their vileness, and their reactions range from rage to remorse. Those who attack their victims, like The Gaslamp Killer has chosen to do, are inexcusably reprehensible, but we should have some empathy for those who make sincere attempts to publicly reckon with their crimes. To be clear, we shouldn’t absolve them for only admitting their faults when threatened, and we certainly shouldn’t allow them back into our spheres of influence, but we should listen to what they have to say and understand why and how they did what they did so we can be more vigilant at eradicating this behavior in the future.
Molly: There’s a huge part of me that worries there’s no forgiveness built into the public shaming mechanisms of the #MeToo movement and it makes me wonder, why would any abuser be motivated to change if they know they’re going to be shunned from society forever? If there’s anything we’ve learned over witnessing these revelations these past months, it’s that sexual abuse ranging from moderate to violent is rampant in our culture. There’s a lingering fear that there are more male abusers than allies out there in the world, particularly in entertainment and nightlife where so often, whether with alcohol or drugs, we’re altering our state of consciousness beyond the limit of personal responsibility.
Neal: The #MeToo revolution brewed over decades of injustice and now presents the opportunity for lasting shifts in our workplace and socio-cultural order. On its back, we can either forge a new set of standards for our global society or we can allow the powers that be, i.e. those whose behavior is inconvenienced by social revolution, to revert us back to a culture of shaming and silence. People need to be allowed to speak, no matter how hard it is to hear what they have to say. In this 24-hour news cycle shelf life, we cannot let this conversation die.
Nathan: We have lived in and perpetuated a culture of silence for too long. We must change the system, we must fight complacency lest we continue this fundamentally flawed way of life. We can and must dismantle the ‘boys club’ social constructs that maintain the systematic silencing of women and deprivation of equal opportunity, and we all know it when we see it happening. It is up to each and every man to draw the line and put their foot down – most of us don’t have trouble doing so when another man gets in our face or, even more so when someone gets in our face on the Internet.
Molly: This movement is still in its formative moments (less than a month at the time of this writing) to be able to estimate the socio-cultural impact, but I believe men becoming more vigilant and less tolerant of these issues has the capacity to truly change things. I’m writing this to add our voice here at NEST HQ to the call to action – if you see something, it is imperative that you say something. This includes seeing anyone trying to hook up with or take home someone who’s black out wasted, bragging about things like drugging another person or having sex with an incapacitated person (who legally is not capable of giving consent). But in general, we’d also appreciate it if you were vigilant against any sort of behavior or “locker-room talk” (I legitimately just threw up in my mouth a little from using that term) which involves treating us like disposable fuck-bots. Being dehumanized sucks and the “party all night” nature of the electronic music community inherently creates a lot of opportunity for casual abuse to take place.
It boils down to this, everybody all together now…
NHQ: If you see something, say something, and be a positive influence at all times to the people in your lives. We can make our culture safe and inclusive for all, but that won’t come from being quiet.
What you can do:
- Tell a friend that you trust. You are not alone.
- Consider reporting it to the police.
- If you want to speak out anonymously, look to The Industry Ain’t Safe on Tumblr.
- If you need to talk to someone but don’t know who: call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) – the people on the other end know what you’re going through and they’re passionate enough about helping others get through it to give up their time to talk to anyone who needs to.
Words by Molly Hankins, Nathan Beer, and Neal Rahman.
Cover image by Max Pierro and Neal Rahman.
Photos by Jamie Adam Rosenberg.
Pictured above: Fabric Nightclub, London