Despite horrific acts of violence, rich men in the entertainment industry are still walking away unscathed and all the richer for the publicity.
Evan Rachel Wood, actress and vocal advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, came out publicly several weeks ago to accuse her ex-husband, singer and entertainer Marilyn Manson, of horrific abuse and manipulation during their relationship.
Instagram post text:
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson. He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.
I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
Touching specifically on Manson grooming her as a teenager, Wood highlights predatory and concerning behaviours that could mean future underaged women would be in danger of falling victim to Manson.
It’s also important to know that Wood is not the only person stepping forward to accuse Manson of abuse and sexual misconduct. In fact, several victims have stepped forward with the help of State Representative of Massachusetts 4th Worchester District, Natalie Higgins, to allege abuse from Manson.
The first line of the letter addressed to Acting Attorney General of the United States, Monty Wilkinson, reads:
“I am writing to you after learning of multiple allegations of human and sex trafficking of miniors. The alleged victims have named Marilyn Manson, also known as Brian Warner, as the perpetrator.”
Letter from Representative Natalie Higgins to Acting Attorney General of the United States Monty Wilkinson, posted to Evan Rachel Wood’s Instagram account.
Where there is one survivor, there are often multiple. We are seeing that to be the same case now.
And it’s about time we start doing something more active about it to protect young women in the future.
As of now, we are failing as a society to bring these perpetrators to justice and protect the innocent and vulnerable in our society.
Most survivors won’t ever get justice — but they do have the power to warn others of a dangerous abuser.
Many are asking:
“Why did Evan Rachel Wood come forward like this, in such a public way? And why did she take so long to do it?”
In a world where proving spousal abuse and assault is often difficult to prove in court, few survivors will actually report their attacker.
It’s even more difficult to get abusers charged for their violations and crimes.
Quote posted to Wood’s Instagram account: “Don’t ask why victims wait so long to speak up. Ask what systems were in place to keep them quiet.”
But what survivors can do is take ownership of their stories and their truths.
For many of us, this is an important part of our healing journey, and a way that we can achieve enough closure to continue forward with our lives.
The ball and chains that come along with surviving assault, abuse or domestic violence are crippling. They hold survivors back in so many ways, paralyzing them from being able to move forward in their lives.
Evan Rachel Wood is doing exactly what many survivors do at some point — whether through written articles, in comment sections, on social media or by telling a loved one — she is standing up bravely and speaking her truth.
Just as she has the right to do as a survivor of horrific trauma.
Certainly, the odds are not in her favour of getting legal justice for the crimes committed against her, statistically speaking.
But at least she can own her truth, her story, and warn other unsuspecting women of a dangerous predator in their midst.
She has not only stepped forward out of a feeling of responsibility, but also for justice.
As a survivor myself, I can appreciate and understand that Evan Rachel Wood needs some form of justice for her own closure.
But why make such a public declaration?
Because she is beyond brave, and wants to spare other young women from the trauma and horrors she experienced by the hands of Manson.
If other young women knew about how dangerous he is, perhaps they can avoid the same abuse that Wood has.
Her hope, in this case, is that she can save at least one young woman from the same fate. She does so despite knowing that she’s about to be torn apart and abused by social media users and online misogynists.
I have a deep respect for her putting herself in front of the firing squad as a sacrifice, if only to save at least one other woman from becoming another victim of Manson’s.
The trauma that comes along with being in an abusive relationship, or a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, is lifelong. It’s terrible, and I personally would not wish it upon anyone.
To spare even one other person from that fate makes stepping forward worth it.
Manson is a predator, and his ideal victim type needs this warning to protect themselves.
It’s out there now — Evan Rachel Wood has stepped forward in her undeniable bravery to tell her story and perhaps protect others in the future.
I know few survivors who have the unimaginable courage to publicly name their abusers — I know I myself am not yet brave enough to do so.
And because of that, I still live with the guilt of not reporting my attacker. Since I never contacted the police about my assault, there may have been other victims after me.
My attacker has likely reoffended.
While I am not responsible for my abuser’s crimes, I do sometimes wonder if there are women I could have saved from his abuse if I had reported him for sexually assaulting me.
That fact, beyond anything else, has survivors like myself beaming with pride that Wood stepped forward to unapologetically and transparently speak her truth.
It takes an incredibly strong and brave human being to take the most traumatic and vulnerable event of their lives and make it public knowledge, if only to help other survivors and potential victims.
Despite the fact that Manson has been accused multiple times of abusing romantic partners or minors, he is still respected as an artist and financially benefiting from the entertainment industry. While he has been let go from his agent and record label, the money is still coming in and he will likely recover from this ‘scandal’.
Because as a society, we forgive abusers for their crimes as long as they are rich, famous and (often Caucasian) males.
While even when a tiny little scandal happens to a female celebrity (she has gained weight, she has demanded equality, etc.), she is torn apart by the media and her reputation is severely damaged.
Why is it that we find it appropriate to separate a man’s “talents” from his crimes, and yet are so quick to tear women down for far lesser missteps, dragging her career down with her?
As a society that should be working towards equality for all, crimes committed by celebrities should affect their reputation, and garner a refusal to support their work.
It took a decade of accusations of pedophilia, sexual abuse and physical violence against R.Kelly for radio stations, streaming platforms and media companies to refuse to play his music.
And yet, Manson’s work is still accessible everywhere — where he continues to financially benefit despite the atrocious crimes he has committed against women and romantic partners.
There are those who argue that they can separate the person from the artist, and thus despite an artist’s crime, the public will still listen to their music.
This is a direct and frank act of minimizing the crimes committed, and stating outloud that you don’t care about the abuse of the victims, and forgive the artist for their crimes.
This simply deepens the mistrust of survivors, the minimizing of crimes committed against women especially, and the free pass for successful and wealthy men to get away with any heinous crimes because their fame will allow them to walk away unscathed.
For the message to really get through to the world and the entertainment industry that this conduct is not acceptable, there must be actual societal consequences to these horrendous crimes.
Perhaps if potential abusers believe that they will indeed be held responsible for their actions, they might think twice about how they behave. They might not feel as untouchable, and fewer women will be victims of their abuse.
But until we as a society really take that desire for change seriously, we’re going to keep seeing these privileged individuals getting away with their crimes against women, and walking away unscathed.
And that is simply unjust.