Not to be Ignored by Alexa Jones

Not to be Ignored by Alexa Jones

<<Intern Alexa Jones will be writing for the blog for the next few months and addressing interesting topics and themes of all sorts. First up, she tackles the issue of sexual assault and a recent story that’s uncovered assault in the music industry. >>

From Alexa Jones:

Sexual assault is an emotional topic. It’s a hard topic to talk about. When it happens, it’s kept quiet. No one really wants to let it be known that it happens, or that it happened. But it does, and it happens every day. It happens to women, to men, to children. It happens to people in the entertainment industry, as surprising as that may be, because it’s not all sparkles and tons of ‘moolah.’ It’s still real life.

From the outside, the industry looks to be safe and protected; it deals with many, well known artists, groups and representatives. We often hear, “Oh these people are rich and famous, nothing bad can happen to them, they’re safe” or so it seems. Just because they’re famous doesn’t mean they’re exempt from any form of assault. Just because they’re famous, doesn’t mean that what happens doesn’t matter.

Two weeks ago, Amber Coffman, of the band ‘Dirty Projectors,” tweeted and called out Life or Death PR and Management founder Heathcliff Berru, saying how “a very popular music publicist” made inappropriate gestures towards her and “bit her hair at a bar a couple of years ago,” later calling him out by his full name. Danger Village publicist Beth Martinez later followed up with Coffman, stating that Berru also violated her, and soon after, loads of women confirmed that they too were victims of his assaults. “Best Coast” member Bethany Cosentino said that she was “too freaked out to ever say anything.” Was it because he was so well known and powerful that he had more against her or any of the women who came forward? Or was it because they were afraid nothing would be taken care of if the actions were reported?

Coffman went on to tweet that Berru did this amongst four of her male friends. Why didn’t they do anything? Why didn’t they protect their friend when this was happening right in front of their eyes? Once the tweets were sent out, they stood still for hours before anyone took notice and reported on them. Action should have been taken, and it wasn’t. Why don’t these stories seem to be of any importance? It’s not fair to the ones it happens to. It’s as if their stories don’t exist, or don’t matter. But they do; they matter tremendously. This is an industry filled with strong, independent women, and it’s growing every day, but occurrences like this break them to the ground, making them weak and filled with guilt for coming forward. It shouldn’t be like that for them, or for anyone. We shouldn’t have the need to choose whose story is important, because every story is important.

This is happening everywhere, every day. It’s okay to be scared, but it’s also okay to ask for help. This doesn’t only apply to women, either. Men get assaulted too, believe it or not. Just because someone is male, doesn’t mean they are exempt from assault. And just because someone is male, doesn’t mean that it’s OKAY for them to commit the action. What makes that right? It’s important for us, as allies, to be there for the victim if they need someone to talk to. We shouldn’t brush the subject off as if we don’t care, because then what kind of allies would we be?

This Saturday, February 6th, at the Reno Little Theatre, The Holland Project will be hosting a Sexual Assault Awareness workshop, where leaders from the Crisis Call Center Sexual Assault Support Services will be talking about how to be supportive allies when it comes to our loved ones being victims, protecting yourself, resources and more. It’s from 1:30-3:30pm, and admission is free. We’re coming together to raise awareness and to fight back against sexual assault, because this shouldn’t happen, and we will put an end to it.

Articles Referenced:

Heathcliff Berru’s Bullshit Apology Is Not Enough to Address The Industry Wide Issue of Sexual Assault

Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman among several women to accuse music publicist Heathcliff Berru of sexual assault