I’m writing this in support of Amanda Daniels. Amanda was in a band called Enabler. Their record La Fin Absolue Du Monde is one of the best extreme punk/metal albums of the last ten years.
Then things got shitty.
New pending album Fail To Feel Safe (Century Media) does not include Amanda but is “about” her. Amanda claims Jeff Lohrber, her ex and Enabler frontman, raped her and abused her while she was in the band. Read the details of these accusations here.
This is not an issue that requires people to take sides. It’s about the precedent that any claim of abuse should be heard, because while some false allegations may occur, there must be a safe environment in which people feel safe to speak up. Many times it is all too real. RAINN, for instance, keeps tracks of how many rapes/assaults go unreported.
I have interviewed Jeff before and have thought of him as a cool guy. This has nothing to do with bias. It has to do with allowing someone to share her experiences, the freedom of speech and equality inherent in due process that America claims to be founded upon; but more often we’ve been about suppressing the voices of women, stopping black people from having a voice or calling the Irish “dogs” — these sallow sins that fade Old Glory slowly but hopefully not surely.
Again, before Return of Kings or #gamergate misogynists (a disgrace to cool gamers) get their tough guy or “everyman” feelings hurt between beat off sessions to Gladiator, Torment: Tides of Numenera and The Purge: Anarchy, let’s forget completely about gender or guilt for a minute and take a much simpler approach that nukes any debate.
Libertarians and “Don’t tread on me” types have some valid points about freedom, but often use paranoia about Big Brother as an excuse to roleplay border patrol bromance racial paranoia paramilitary fantasies. Or when it comes to gender they drop the ball at the great vagina border and abandon their posts completely. Anyone, regardless of gender, ought to be allowed to speak up when they feel wronged, abused or mistreated. Even crazy psuedo-Christians who read the Bible so selectively they should be cross eyed (get it, “cross”? God, I’m so funny) ought to be given the verbal rope to hang themselves. We give more air time to public debates about the cast of superhero movies than we do to sexual assault victims. I’m a huge fucking nerd but seriously, stop and think about how insane that is.
Amanda has a right to tell her story, and no one has a right to deny her that. Flat out, fuck that. She opened up about her story in full in an interview with metal scribe (and my friend), Kim Kelly, for Noisey/Vice.
Public opinion certainly matters and courts should decide the rest, but can we fucking please not be so naive as to believe the system for rape prosecution is not broken, like so many it has failed? And yet we are more than able to get mandatory jail time for weed offenders.
Let’s talk pride. I’m proud of my country. I choose to acknowledge history but not live in the country of impossibility or hate. You have to change your headspace. Don’t be in denial but stay focused on PMA.
We live though, whether we stay positive or not, in this actual KKKountry where racial divides are pushed wider by those who would exploit fear to steer us away from class war with the 1%. We call people “cunts” for being brave enough to voice their hurt or trauma. Cunt should be a beautiful word, right?
America is also a nation of hope and tolerance and respect. That IS out there as well. Demanding civil liberties as a nation, that we ought to be able to show the world, is part of the “land of the free.” Standing up for marriage equality. Having compassion. These are instances of our best foot put forward.
I know all about the Rolling Stone campus rape authenticity debate, keyboard cowboy mama’s boys. It does not mean that RAPE is still not a fucking problem on campuses, you stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid motherfuckers.
This is meant to be more of a soft tone article, so forgive that outburst. This is about showing the other Amandas (or Adams) out there that there is precedent.
I asked Amanda if she would feel safe being part of an article like this that featured examples of powerful women speaking out through song (see below) as well as other women in the music scene contributing their thoughts. As a reminder that feminism is not a dirty but beautiful word.
These sad, sex or power obsessed keyboard trolls writing sexist comments on Metalsucks or sex crazed misogynists and frat boys who don’t even know they are chasing the oxytocin hamster wheel they’ll never find the perfect fix for without a real spiritual and deep core connection to someone, well — they are missing out on the authenticity of not only real love making but also real manhood.
I’m not arguing for complete censorship or saying that people don’t have a right to disagree with a story, but when people are responding on Metalsucks with “she’s hot though” comments, it tells you something pretty ugly.
I posted a pain prayer for everyone affected by abuse, PTSD and insecurities. Otep Shamaya posted support on my Facebook wall for Amanda, saying, “She is brave.” There are too many instances of abusive or power/grief martyr types in the indie or underground music scene or, worse, frat party dubstep objectifiers in the festival-goer mainstream norm.
Like, can’t everyone just listen/dance to The Gap Band and fucking STFU and get on with their lives? Why do we have to obsessively want to smother people with this primitive ownership shit? Territorial actual pissings. Bring the ego death! Stop the sex war madness. Stop bullying and hating and throwing gasoline on hot coals of judgement.
We have too many people who think it’s okay to choke the life out of others. Too many crazy motherfuckers who would have also shot Malala Yousafzai. Too many fucking puppies with guns (or guitars) in their hands, to re-contextualize a Primus classic. Too many people who’d make fun of a girl on her first period rather than tell her what is going on with her body.
Shaming is one of the most putrid and evil things ever. It erases a person entirely.
It shouldn’t be so difficult for people to understand how hard it can be to leave abusive situations, as it affects you on so many core levels. A toxic stun gun that turns to self-loathing the longer you wait. Victims of abuse or people voicing allegations deserve consideration instead of being outright dismissed or called sluts. How awkward is it that if someone says they were violated or verbally abused, we scan them for ulterior motives before looking at the alleged, and often actual, perpetrators?
“It’s one of the most paralyzing things on the planet. I am letting go of all the shame I carried with me, or consciously making an effort to anyway. My back is mostly like a duck, but sometimes not quite, sometimes some of the things stick a little longer but overall the way and the light of my future path is becoming known and a little more clearer every day.” – Amanda Daniels.
3 songs for solidarity that show it’s OK to speak up:
1. War On Women- “Say It”
2. The Gits- “Sign of the Crab”
3. Crisis — “Sweething.”
Some amazing people with words of support for Amanda and others facing similar situations:
Elan (#bitchwhip): “Silence is deadly because it implies one of two things: Either you have nothing to say or you believe no one will listen to you. Can you think of anything more deadly than that? To a movement? To a spirit?” Lancelot Lovejoy.
Kelley Deal (The Breeders): “What about Bill Cosby? How hard is it to speak up against a beloved icon? Not just rape but weird rape? Imagine how hard it is for any of them. It must be really hard for people to come forward. If somebody told me Bill Cosby drugged them to have unconscious sex with them, I’d have said, ‘You’re lying and drink too much.’ I would never have believed that about him.” @kelleydeal
Yasmine Kitties (Tearist): “This is something I’m also currently trying to find the peace and courage to be able to speak about. I don’t want pity and I think I’m not far enough away. I need to take a step away from all of … like … just the thoughts.” @_TEARIST_
Liv Jagrell (Sister Sin): “It is absolutely brave to go out and tell it. She knows she will be judged. People will question you violently. I absolutely think though that we should try to get more people to be brave.” @livsin @sistersin