IASPM-US and JPMS Statement of Solidarity with Survivors of Sexual Assault and Harassment
The U.S. branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US) and the Journal of Popular Music Studies (JPMS) stand in full support of and solidarity with survivors and victims of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct. We unequivocally condemn sexual violence, and we are committed to ensuring the safety of all our members. We understand sexual violence as necessarily interpersonal and institutional. It is both a function and facilitator, a reflection and reinforcement, of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism as well as concomitant structures of power and domination like racism, capitalism, ableism, settler colonialism, imperialism, and heteronormativity. We, thus, organize and orient our support of sexual assault survivors as well as our fight against sexual misconduct toward a vision that sees and treats such violences as part of a much broader intersectional struggle. And in so doing, we take direction and inspiration from feminist studies (including, but not limited to, women of color and transnational feminist studies), critical race and ethnic studies, critical Indigenous studies, queer and trans studies, and disability studies—and the social movements that inform and are informed by such studies.
The recent disturbing wave of sexual misconduct allegations in popular music studies reveals a culture of complicity. It reveals the deep structural issues within music studies related to abuse and/of power. It reveals how sexual violence is endemic rather than episodic. And it reveals the ways in which we repeatedly fail survivors and render them more vulnerable.
Change is needed and necessary. We cannot, and we will not, continue to participate in the (re)production of harm. We have a collective responsibility to survivors to support them by establishing a safe and healthy environment and a robust set of protocols to address, and ultimately prevent, violence and abuse. This statement is, therefore, not the final but rather the first step on this front and in this journey.
For JPMS readers, we will be publishing a series of essays concerning the historical, institutional, and ongoing culture of sexual violence, harassment, and misconduct in music studies. These pieces will not be limited to one issue, but will instead be published over multiple issues, signaling how embedded these violences are in our field (and society more generally) and the necessity for a continued and committed engagement to challenge these violences. For IASPM-US members (both current and future), the organization will be developing a set of workshops, discussions, and policies related to addressing, adjudicating, and combatting sexual violence in our field, profession, and lives. The first set of events and organizing will occur at our May 2022 Conference. The second set will take place following the formation of an anti-sexual violence committee/task force, which will create much needed language in our by-laws and code of conduct. We will update IASPM-US membership and JPMS readership accordingly–please keep an eye out for these announcements.
Throughout all of this, we will center, affirm, and follow the lead of survivors. We strongly believe that our efforts to end sexual violence must necessarily start with and learn from the needs and voices of survivors. This is our commitment, this is our mission, and this is our promise.
For more resources on sexual violence, we encourage you to read and visit:Ahmed, Sara. Complaint! Durham: Duke University Press, 2021
Burke, Tarana. Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement. New York: Flatiron Books, 2021
Hill, Annie, and Carol A. Stabile. "Rhetoric and Sexual Violence: A Conversation with Annie Hill and Carol A. Stabile." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 24, no. 1 (2021): 149-167
Hine, Darlene Clark. “Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West.” Signs 14, no. 4 (1989): 912–20
Iantaffi, Alex. Gender Trauma: Healing Cultural, Social, and Historical Gendered Trauma. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020
Pegues, Juliana Hu. "Rape Is/Not a Metaphor." Journal of Asian American Studies 24, no. 1 (2021): 9-17
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/
The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Norma Coates, President, IASPM-US
K. E. Goldschmitt, Co-editor, JPMS
Elliott H. Powell, Co-editor, JPMS