Many people who know AVFTI know that AVFTI is closely tied in with the music industry, since sexual assault is so prevalent in the music world. When you go to a concert or tour liked Warped Tour, you may happen to see a band sporting AVFTI merch or even see our booth. While some people may already be aware about sexual assault and its effects on others, many do not have the resources or support to speak out. We’ve even given lectures and been involved with educating band members on how to be a part of a solution.
Over the years, there have been more and more incidents coming out in regards to bands taking advantage of their fans, as well as fans assaulting other fans at shows and festivals. These incidents often go unreported because of a number of reasons. Fans who are assaulted by band members may be experiencing a feeling of betrayal and not think they will be believed. Others may have been forced into silence with forms of threats by people in a sort of power position. There are too many potential situations to list, but all of these do happen and need to be recognized.
When it comes down to incidents of sexual assault or even sexual misconduct, too many people choose to question the victims rather than believe an support them. While there may be a few instances of false reporting (statistics illustrate this number is extremely low), most victims do not want to put themselves in the limelight about something so personal unless it is true.
These people are often afraid to speak out against someone they may have once trusted who is loved and admired by many. They may feel unsafe to return to concerts, go to other festivals where the person in question may be attending or performing, or even to be involved in music in any capacity. Something they once loved could be tarnished and not having support from others adds insult to injury.
This is not the first time people have spoken out about abuse and sexual assault in the music industry. Some have written about this type of behavior and many brave individuals have come forward with their stories. At AVFTI, we want to do more – we want to reach as many people as possible. Whether you have been directly affected by sexual assault or have heard incidents around you, you are not alone.
If you haven’t heard of these types of stories yourself, there are many articles which illustrate them. Incidents range from counts of child sexual assault and statutory rape to sexual assault and misconduct. These incidents have come out against PWR BTTM, Beach Slang, Ronnie Radke from Falling In Reverse, Lost Prophets, Front Porch Step, Jonny Craig of Slaves, The Casualties, Blood on the Dance Floor, and even superstars Ceelo Green, Sean Kingston, R. Kelly, Chris Brown, Marilyn Manson, and Jared Leto. Some of these stories have been more public than others and some may involve more harsh allegations than others, but they still fall into the same category.
Responses of the Accused
One of the main components that does not go unnoticed is the action or inaction on behalf of the other band members and related industry when an incident does arise. For example, does the band speak out about the individual in question and look into the incident? Do they offer resources to the victim or survivor and ask how they can support them? Does the band or label choose to part ways with the alleged assaulter or do they pretend the entire thing never happened?
Too many bands and their members choose to focus on the rights of the accused, saying that an accusation ruins lives. What actually ruins lives is rape and sexual assault. Yes, someone making up a story to get someone in trouble would be terrible. But what is even worse is victims going unsupported with no resources all because the band is more concerned about their reputation.
So many of these incidents are simply swept under the radar or covered up, depending on the level of fame of the accused individual. Sadly, many of their managers, band members, or support teams do not take these accusations as seriously as they should.
As these incidents grow, in both smaller music scenes, Warped Tour scenes, and larger scale in the case of Chris Brown, the need for AVFTI grows too. We make ourselves known and present because we are needed. When we show up to Warped Tour or other shows, we are sending a strong message: we are here for you. We are here to listen, to believe you, and we have the resources and support you need.
Our efforts to get involved are not to focus on the perpetrators, but to be there for survivors and victims’ needs. We are here to stand loud and proud to make sure victims of this type of behavior never feel alone.