Dear Meow, InsideOUT, New Zealand Portrait Gallery and Slow Boat Records,

 

I’m writing regarding your upcoming Darkmatter events on 9 and 10 October.

Darkmatter have made clear statements that justify rape and pedophilia. They can be read here.

The statements include calling little girls – children – “kinky” and “deviant”. They suggest that culturally, society places too much onus on sexual violence perpetrators and not enough on victims. This is false, victim blaming, and threatening. 

In fact, sexual violence perpetrators are rarely made accountable; and sexual violence victims are barely ever believed, and they never, ever, ever see justice. One in three New Zealand women are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes – there is even a pathway leading to Massey University in Wellington nicknamed “rape alley”! Yet only 13% of cases reported result in a conviction.

However Darkmatter presents his statement as an effort to protect marginalised groups, it is clearly apology, erasure, minimisation and justification for the sexual abuse of children.

The rate of violence committed against women by men who identify as women is furthermore the same as that carried out by the general male population. Society also comes tooth and nail to the defense of men who identify as women, before it will listen to women who are victims of sexual violence. We need to work just as hard to make sure women and children can be heard when they are preyed on by men who are transgender, as any man. Being transgender furthermore is not and never an excuse for being a rape apologist.

Darkmatter say that “We need to seriously overhaul the idea that there is a perfect victim anywhere”. No, we don’t. In fact, this culture already retraumatises sexual violence victims constantly whenever they report abuse, by blaming them. It actually treats all girls and women as fair game. It even makes us responsible for preventing our own abuse through pathetic measures, like whistles. Massey University has advised women to carry whistles to school.

Darkmatter goes on to say that girls are “deviant” and that we need to do more to consider their “deviance”. This is pornification. Victims are already subjected to this kind of attitude relentlessly when they speak out about abuse. If this is news to you, please read the letter written by the woman raped by Brock Turner in Stanford. She speaks in detail about how she was treated as “deviant” while her rapist was celebrated for his swimming achievements.

We do not need to put more emphasis on considering how victims invite their own abuse. We need to stop doing that entirely.

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If a man suggests that perpetrators are under too much pressure and that pressure needs alleviating and to be moved onto victims, he is an unsafe person who should be steered clear of. His statements are also a strong indicator that he is a perpetrator. 

I’ve had two people respond to my concerns by saying that Darkmatter have apologised. That’s great for them. If a threatening person apologises to you, that is positive. It does not mean you invite them into your house. It does not mean you throw them a party and celebrate them as a hero.

Darkmatter’s event is also being supported by InsideOUT, which is supposed to be about making our communities safe. I’ve just been bullied off Meow’s event page for asking if the bar if staff are comfortable with Darkmatter’s statements.

As a woman, this does not make me feel safe.

This man’s identity appears to matter a great deal more to people in my city than the safety of women like me and our kids; than our need to be able to freely speak about and call out predatory behaviour; than our right to be free from the presence and celebration of rape and pedophilia apologists.

If this is how I’m treated for calling out predatory behaviour, I do not feel safe in this city, and neither can others.

These statements and the views they express are shocking, and frightening.

I do not think we should be welcoming this performer into our city, and I hope you agree with me and move to take a stand against rape culture.

Nga mihi,

Renee Gerlich
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