Last month my friend asked me to comment for an article he was writing on ongoing sexism and rape culture in Vancouver arts. In retrospect, I found the interview triggering. Though I spoke from the perspective of a music journalist, I also could have spoken as a victim.
Almost three years ago, new to Vancouver, I found myself in a situation of questionable consent with someone active in local music. Since becoming more involved in the community, I have realized that this person is a known sexual predator. Although this is public knowledge, the music scene still supports them. They continue to work within the arts without assuming accountability, without consequence.
I don’t blame the arts community for sanitizing this person, and others like them. I get it. How does someone start a conversation with a known predator or abuser that honestly addresses accusations? — “Hey, I love your album, and we should discuss consent.” — But perhaps it would be healthier to talk openly about rape and sexual exploitation instead of what happens now, where individuals relay a combination of facts and slander through gossip, social media and bathroom graffiti. As a community, can we not develop a safer and more substantiating way of identifying and addressing predators?
Even as I bring up this topic now as a victim, I do not feel safe speaking publicly about my experience or naming the predator because of their standing within the music community. Neither of my positions as victim or as editor of a music magazine have granted me the knowledge of how to solve this problem, but I know that I want to encourage discussion about it. At the very least, I hope this Editor’s Note can begin to bring awareness to how artists, music-lovers, promoters, venues and media engage with, and react to accusations of sexual exploitation and domestic violence within their community. As an independent publication with a long history of questioning institutions and social structure, Discorder is a good place to start talking about this. The resolution of rape culture may not be as simple as exiling all known predators from the music community, but Discorder can take a stand to not exalt known predators through promotion or exposure.
While that would be an excellent closing to this Editor’s Note, there are other things I need to acknowledge. This is a double issue, after all —
With a combination of heavy hearts and excitement, Discorder says farewell to Station Manager and Publisher Brenda Grunau, and Programming Manager and former Music Director Sarah Cordingley. They are both following their passions to new projects, but we thank them for sharing their love of music and art with Discorder for all these years.
Now let’s all bike to the beach.
*PS. Happy birthday to the Rickshaw! July 8 marks the seventh anniversary of the venue, and the fifth year of Mo’s involvement. Thanks to the Rickshaw for supporting Discorder over the years through advertisements, and for supporting the local music scene we serve. Discorder loves you and your sticky floors 😉
*Editor’s note: The dates in the print issue are wrong. Sorry Mo 🙁 -BB
Magazines are strange beasts, and I am supremely grateful to all of you who pick up this beautiful magazine and read the fruits of many growing writers each month. In the same way Discorder allows new writers to explore the world of journalism, I too have dabbled and written articles on topics I’m passionate about, like Night Mayors and southern BBQ. I’ve benefited from the editorial guidance of Discorder staff, interviewed smart and engaged people, and learned how to tell and share a story.
As the publisher, it’s been exciting to see Discorder evolve with each new editor and art director. We’ve had ongoing conversations about the future of publishing, what paper means to people, how people are reading about music and what’s valuable for our community. What will continue to remain constant is the opportunity we’re offering to new writers, photographers and illustrators, and the coverage we provide for the local music community.
It truly has been a pleasure working with all of you at Discorder — that ever changing, adventurous, and ever local CiTR magazine.