Why Beach Slang’s stance against sexual violence is important

Today American punk rockers Beach Slang have released a statement of guitarist Ruben leaving the band amidst allegations of sexual assault. With this the band takes a strong stand against sexual violence – this is not only an important cause, but incredibly important in an industry that has long gotten away with not speaking out more strongly against abuse. 

The abuse allegations are currently being investigated and nothing has been 100% confirmed. That needs to be clearly stated! However, it is unbelievably brave and impressive that the band have issued an open statement about said allegations. In most cases in this industry, the victim would be paid a lot of money, or just bullied into shutting up. Rape culture at its finest (star case of this practice is Ke$ha’s court case against Dr. Luke). But with their statement, Beach Slang speak out and stand up against this seemingly accepted behavior. They stand up against sexual abuse and, most importantly, against victim blaming.

To take a stand against an issue which faces so many hurdles even in non male-dominated industries is heroic if you ask me. And we need more men like that. Less of the defending of “locker room” talk, and thinking Donald Trump’s statements aren’t worrying. Consent is an easy concept – one would think. But not enough education is being done to teach boys and girls, men and women, of all religions and races what it means to consent. The fact that it is 2016 and the topic still needs educating is ridiculous if you ask me. But yet, we need to do it. And we need to do it more openly and with more support. For us, yes, but mostly for our children. In a world of increasing sexualization, it will only get harder for young girls and boys to differentiate what is okay and what isn’t – when really it is easy.

With today’s statement also comes the reassurance of their female fans that sexual harassment will not be tolerated at their shows – “Beach Slang has always been and will always be a safe place for everyone. It was built to be welcoming. It was built to be soft.”. From personal experience, and friends’ experiences, as a girl at a show, especially when alcohol is involved, men find it totally acceptable behavior to sexually harass women during the gig. Whether it is physical or verbal – it seems to be an okay thing to do.

I dearly hope, that with the decision to take a stand against sexual violence, Beach Slang will inspire many other bands to make their shows and themselves a place where people can feel safe and happy. Bands are role models, and if they think acting without consent isn’t cool, maybe more will follow. For me, Beach Slang have always been home to all those who feel misunderstood, the people who recognize themselves in lyrics, for whom the band’s music is a safe haven. And that it should always be. Music should always be your safe haven, even if all else fails.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, below are a few UK numbers that can help you. Don’t keep it inside, mental health is the most precious thing we have, and talking to someone is important.

Rape Crisis – 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year)
Victim Support – 0808 168 9111
National Domestic Violence Helpline –  08457 023 047 (24 hrs)
MPower – Support for Male Survivors of Abuse – 0808 808 4321

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Full band statement: 

For us, Beach Slang has always been and will always be a safe place for everyone. It was built to be welcoming. It was built to be soft. If we are going to continue to exist, we have to exist in this way.

There have been allegations involving sexual assault and our guitarist, Ruben. Although this occurred four years ago and prior to him joining Beach Slang, we cannot in good conscience continue with him. We believe survivors and we want to believe Ruben, but until we learn more information, we don’t feel it’s appropriate for him to be a part of Beach Slang.

We strongly support survivors and organizations such as www.rainn.org and we encourage you to use their resources if you need help. We will be making a donation to RAINN at the conclusion of this tour to do our part in helping to ensure these resources are there for those who need it. 

Given the timing of this, our only option is to play as Quiet Slang (James solo acoustic). I mean, giving up never seems to fix things. Maybe today, we can start putting some stuff back together. The Bleached Slang tour starts tonight in Washington, DC. Maybe that’s a good place to start. 

Keep each other safe,
Beach Slang

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