Alex L. currently lives in Baltimore. He is from NY, plays music in Alex And The Imaginary Friends, and has been involved in various projects in this city.
ThIs post includes discussions of rape and abusive behavior. Please read with care.
In 2009, I was raped by Jordan Epstein, a prominent member of the Baltimore DIY/punk community and a collective member of Charm City Art Space (CCAS). When my experience became public, I was invalidated, harassed, and violently threatened by collective members of CCAS (some of who still hold collective membership). Though Jordan was eventually banned from the collective after weeks of social pressure and a statement was released, my experience and the overall issue of rape and sexual assault were not taken seriously. “Efforts” made by CCAS were referred to by it’s collective members as “damage control.”
Jordan did not respect my requests made and left the country in the middle of this process. He has not been held accountable. CCAS has also not been held accountable for their response.
Alex L.’s involvement:
Alex blatantly disregarded my request for people to stop supporting CCAS and not only continued attending shows there, but playing them and promoting the space.
I requested that the people supporting me and other friends did not go to or support CCAS. Alex was aware of this request and not only continued attending shows, but playing them and promoting the space. When confronted by multiple people, he communicated that he knew it was fucked up, but felt like he didn’t have other options for other places to play and knew that people were going to take issue with him regardless. I did not have an expectation for people to blindly comply with this request. I was open to conversation about why it was made. Furthermore, the fact that “safe space” can and does not exist was not the point of this request, as Alex had critiqued to other people. As I stated, CCAS was supporting my rapist, had invalidated my experience, and had violently threatened me for making it public. This clearly was not a “safe space” and I was not interested in focusing my energy on trying to make it one. However, Alex did not try to engage in conversation with me about this and instead blatantly disregarded and complained about being asked to stop supporting CCAS.
Alex stayed friendly with my rapist and communicated about personal conversations regarding CCAS to him.
Jordan Epstein came to a show knowing that he was not allowed at the space. A person involved in his accountability process told him that he needed to leave, which resulted in an argument where Jordan brought up to this person that he knew they were “shit talking” him because Alex had told him the details of previous conversations regarding CCAS. Alex had complained to Jordan that this person and others involved in his accountability process were badgering him about continuing to support the space.
Alex has socially manipulated and invalidated my experience of rape and of our relationship.
Alex has incessantly talked to others about my experience of rape and our relationship. He has described my experience of rape as “unclear” and “just rough sex.” He has warned friends to “watch out” and “just don’t do it” in regards to becoming closer friends with me.
Alex has made attempts to resolve this situation through mediated discussion. There was a point where that was something I also wanted. However, the way that he has approached some of those conversations have been coercive and manipulative. He has said that he is not interested in apologizing, but is looking for an apology from me. In this situation, he has framed himself as a victim. I do not owe him a conversation and should not have to have one for him to seriously change his behavior.
In social situations where Alex and I are both present, if I am uncomfortable I am the one that has consistently needed to leave. I have often left alone or with one or two other people. I am tired of this being the case.
THIS IS WHERE THE LINE IS DRAWN
IT IS NOT ABOUT FRIENDSHIP
IT IS NOT “INTERPERSONAL”
IT DOESN’T EXIST IN A VACUUM
It serves to force conversation that has consistently been avoided as a means to preserve “social peace” or derailed through the social manipulation of character and the use of social capital in masking abusive behavior.
If our friendships do not embody our politics, what the fuck are we doing?
Rape apologists, you’re not welcome in this city.
Alex L., you’re not welcome in this city.
In talking and writing about this, I feel like if I do not present “objective facts” that my experience will not hold weight. This has proved to be true on multiple occasions. While there is an importance and necessity in explaining my perspective, I should not be expected to rid my emotions from this process nor have them act to discredit my experience.
I am not looking for sympathy. I need a voice. I need transparency. I need people to take shit seriously.
It’s important to add that I am not the only person that feels this strongly about Alex. Multiple people have taken issue with him on the basis of his selfishness, which becomes a threat to the comfort and safety of others, and his manipulative behavior.
- V, Baltimore
When I book a tour I sometimes get phone calls or emails about spaces that, for various reasons, I should not play. This happened with Charm City Art Space a few years ago. At the time I was, admittedly, very ignorant about sexual assault in the DIY punk community. So, I called people in Balitimore that were supporting the survivor (back then I didn’t even know to use that word) and they told me as much as they could about what was going on. I had never done a supporting survivors workshop, consent workshop, or anything to prepare me for dealing with this. What I did have was smart and amazing friends, who held my stupid hand through making the right call. Moved the show from CCAS to a house, probably played for less people, and probably made less money. The thing is that now I can look back and not have to feel weird about it.
I’m really serious about show spaces being safe spaces. This means we all have to work harder and get smarter. I can’t change my history as a dumb-ass loser who didn’t know (or really want to know) about abuse, assault, and my own role in inadvertently perpetuating those things in my scene. (I’m still just getting started on learning about this stuff.) What I can do is change the choices I will make in the future.
Support survivors. Please re-post.