Op-Ed: Victim-blaming continues in the aftermath of Decapitated’s arrest
Apparently, that’s the response potential rape victims still get in the year 2017. When Polish death metal band Decapitated were first accused of and arrested for kidnapping, and then later of allegedly raping a female fan in Spokane, Washington, Aug. 31, the online comments began pouring in. As usual, a slew of people responded to the alleged crime with insensitivity, meanness and even jokes.
One anonymous commenter to the Lambgoat article regarding this issue simply said, “video or it didn’t happen,” a popular colloquial phrase, meant to be humorous. Tell me, would you like to see that video if there was one? Is that sort of thing entertaining for you? Another anonymous person commented, “Stupid Pollacks can’t even bang groupies right.” Aside from trying to make light of the grave situation, this comment includes racism, too.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
First of all, let’s be absolutely clear: Nothing about this is funny. If the despicable crime did take place, it is certainly not a laughing matter. Consider the hypotheticals: For one, a woman could be traumatized for life thanks to the inhumane actions of a few men. Or, if the potential victim is lying about it (which has happened before, such as the untrue 2014 rape accusations against Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst), several people’s careers could be damaged going forward. Last but not least, “crying rape” when it didn’t really happen makes it less likely for victims to have their voices heard — and so does shaming victims of rape. Basically, all anyone on the outside of this situation can do is speculate as to what happened. Which side is telling the truth is unknowable until a statement has been issued or a court of law has been convened. Any negative speculation on the internet or elsewhere can hurt people more than they already have been. In short, your internet bullying and stupidity does nothing good for anyone, trolls.
Of course, there are people on the internet who responded to the articles surrounding this event with a dose of morality. In return for standing against rape, however, non-sympathizers promptly hit the “man-hating feminist” button, once again putting blame on the supposed victim. “Feminazi dindu nuffins attempt to smash the patriarchy once more,” an anonymous commenter said oh-so-eloquently. It seems whenever there is a serious crime involving a woman, especially a woman being taken advantage of, a lot of the blame immediately gets placed on her. She gets called a “bitch” even though no official verdicts have been given. “Bitch is an idiot,” another commenter posted. “Let’s get on a tour bus with a bunch of drunk Polish dudes in a death metal band. Super safe.” Yet again, it’s her fault for whatever transpired.
Events such as these bring various ongoing debates to the surface. Racism, misogyny and even politics rear their disgusting heads, which further proves the incredible divide and mental instability of our nation. In response to the previous comment, for example, another person said, “Found the alt-righter. Go guzzle some Mountain Dew and speed your raised truck off a cliff you f*cking jabroni.” Regardless of whether you agree with this person’s response, it paints a distinct and accurate portrait of our current society and music scene. It truly is amazing that people who listen to the same music, hear the same lyrics and take in the same information can still emerge on polar opposite ends of the moral spectrum.
Most importantly, this individual case isn’t the only reason for writing this article. It’s the response to victims and to the crime of rape. It’s what cases like these bring out of other people, and unfortunately, it’s not their best. But it does expose an ever-present, ever-growing problem that we need to find a way to address: what to do to make our society a more humane one. When people go out of their way to comment on something such as this, they clearly don’t think about the gravity of the situation and the weight of their words. You might pass it off as just internet idiots being internet idiots, but it is far more serious than that. It showcases the prevailing ignorance of an entire population. Our society, and at the very least our music scene, should be united under one banner, and that is one of respect for other human beings.