Dear Chester, I only realised a few days ago that it’s nearly been a year …
Hands up who’s seen The Castle? You know, the most Australian movie ever. Apart from lending “Tell him he’s dreaming” to our lexicon, we should also remember the entire movie rests on an interpretation of the clause, “on just terms.” This referred to compulsory acquisition of land under the Australian Constitution. I want to apply it to the disgusting rot that’s eating away at the pop-punk and hardcore scenes.
I know – we want to think this is quarantined to a few bad apples. But when more and more accusations bear fruit, one begins thinking the entire orchard should be reduced to pulp.
Earlier this week, we reported Jesse Lacey of Brand New was accused of sexual misconduct. He attempted soliciting nudes from a minor – he was 24 and she was 15. In her account, she says “he manipulated the hell out of me.” In many states of America, “sexting” laws state individuals must be over the age of 18 to share nude pictures, or it is considered a crime. This was a crime, and Lacey deserves punishment.
Let’s return to the concept of “on just terms.” When I think more about Mike Fuentes (and I wrote this story) my mind focuses on “on just terms.” Was the relationship illegal? Under Californian state law, yes. Was the relationship “on just terms?” One could say that it was. In the allegation, she mentions he was aware of her minority. The relationship continued for over two years until it ended, on an unfriendly note. When I wrote the story, I had a firm grasp on my own reaction. Now, I’m not so sure.
Under Victorian law, Fuentes would not be convicted of any crime. 16 is the age of consent, and their relationship would be no more illegal than any relationship between two 18-year olds. Under Californian law, the relationship could’ve been made legal if Mike married the girl in question (subject to parental approval.) Talking to friends and colleagues, a 16 or 17 year old going out with an older person isn’t uncommon. In fact, some of my closest mates told me their formative relationships much resembled the one with Fuentes and that girl. It would seem to me, at least, this relationship (and theirs) was “on just terms.”
It all happened a decade or so ago. So why disclose this now? Sour grapes? Despite our efforts to contact her, we may never know the full story. Stories such as these, “on just terms,” sucks the oxygen out of claims of groping, sexual violence, rape, and so on. This week I’ve been contacted by women (and men) who’ve told me this isn’t uncommon in the pop-punk and hardcore scenes. They aren’t coming forward, because they fear legal and social repercussions. That is beyond unfortunate.
No one has the right to violate another’s body. No one, not now, not ever. Hysteria is not a court of law. We report the facts, as best we can. We hope that our efforts, however minute, in reporting these crimes – those committed not “on just terms” – will lead to change in this scene for the better.
Respect the boundaries of others; it’s not that fucking hard.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual violence, reach out for support by calling 1800 RESPECT.
Anyway, here’s our Top Ten:
Our most read story of all time – let’s hope With Confidence can redeem themselves.
A bit of good news this week for the Marriage Equality campaign
2018 will be the last *sadface*
A refund on peace…all stock cleared, no new lines
They’re worldwide, baby
Geezer punk sounds right up the bonce innit?
And a cool new clip from their upcoming EP
A legacy in tatters
He’s still in his videos, this time for KILL4ME
Let’s go out for frosty chocolate milkshakes!