Seattle's Childbirth are on tour and in Brooklyn currently for the Northside Festival, having played Shea Stadium last night and will play Baby's All Right tonight (6/10). One band that's not playing Northside now, as you have probably heard, is Ohio's Good English whose shows were canceled after it came to light that drummer Leslie Rasmussen had penned a letter defending Brock Turner, the Stanford student and star swimmer who was convicted of sexually assault (and got a light sentence). Childbirth's Bree McKenna (who is also in Tacocat) wrote an editorial today over at The Talkhouse about whole situation, taking in a few different angles:
While it’s easy to pile hate on someone like Rasmussen — and I would like to make it abundantly clear that her statements offend, confuse and disgust me, especially coming from another woman — there’s something else I find even more offensive, confusing and completely disgusting: the sheer amount of gendered violence and misogyny that is being hurled at her. I’ve been seeing too many comments sections, Facebook posts and tweets calling her a “cunt” and a “bitch,” plus thinly veiled physical threats against her...
...These attacks on Leslie feel like a distraction from where our anger should be pinpointed: the way our society and legal system deals with violence against women, especially when it involves privileged, white men.
The situation caused me to think of my own music community and how it mishandles the subject of rape. I know a number of band guys who have turned a blind eye to the fact that a friend of theirs has been involved in sexual assault. I have personally had unsuccessful confrontations with male friends who have told me that they have no issue hanging with a known rapist because he is a “cool guy” and they “don’t know exactly what happened.”
There’s a sad irony at play here: a woman was taken off bills for espousing an opinion (however wrongheaded), while so many male assaulters are able to move around untouched by any repercussions. Rasmussen should be held accountable for her words, but violence against women is still violence against women.
You can read McKenna's whole essay over at The Talkhouse. Fellow Talkhouse contributor (and now MTV correspondent) Meredith Graves also weighed in earlier:
As mentioned, Rasmussen's original statement on the canceled shows was pulled from Good English's Facebook shortly after it was posted (you can read it here though). A second statement was then posted and then taken down (Good English's Facebook page is currently deleted, as is their Twitter, bandcamp and website), but you can read it here:
As I said previously, as part of the sentencing process, I, and at least 39 others wrote character statements to the judge in the case.
Although I was asked to share how I knew him, how long I have known him, his character and personality, time spent with him, activities together, and any other opinion I had on the matter, I was not there that night. I had no right to make any assumptions about the situation.
Most importantly, I did not acknowledge strongly enough the severity of Brock’s crime and the suffering and pain that his victim endured, and for that lack of acknowledgement, I am deeply sorry.
I fully understand the outrage over Brock’s sentencing and my statement. I can only say that I am committed to learning from this mistake. I am 20 years old, and it has never been more clear to me that I still have much to learn.