Two weeks ago freak-folk singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm revealed that her former label head and mentor, Michael Gira of Swans, had allegedly raped her. Gira initially denied Grimm’s accusation and described her recount of their relationship as a “slanderous lie”. He then followed up with an official statement describing it as a “consensual romantic moment”.
When the awareness of sexual assault within the music industry has heightened due to many high profile musicians speaking up; such as Kesha and her accusations to Dr Luke, Lady Gaga’s performance at the recent Oscars and Amber Coffman revealing publicist Heathcliff Berru’s behaviour towards female clients, Gira’s defense of it being consensual doesn’t cut it.
It is so upsetting to see so many examples of men within the industry asserting themselves physically over women, and to be in such denial of what it is they have done. As Grimm says in her response to Gira’s statement, “This is a perfect example of why we need to have education about consent. In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist. Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape.”
Grimm has released a song in the aftermath. Titled ‘I Don’t Believe’ the track is heart-wrenching and strong, Grimm pouring out over coruscating harp and wandering guitar the doubt and disbelief felt by many victims of assault when speaking out against their assaulters.
I don’t believe you
You hear your mother cry
I wish that I could die
I wish that you would die too
So I could play outside
I could be free with you.
I don’t believe you.
Burning quietly before rising to a tearing belt, it’s a song written “for all the survivors of abuse” telling them all that they “are not alone.”
If you are in need of support or information go to Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (ACT), NSW Rape Crisis (NSW), Ruby Gaea (NT), Sexual Assault Helpline (QLD), Domestic Violence Crisis Service (SA), Safe at Home (TAS), Sexual Assault Crisis Line (VIC) and Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline (WA).