Article from deathandtaxes by Jamie Peck
Earlier this week, a viral story erupted when a musician in Portland, Oregon, confessed to, and apologized for, a sexual assault via his Facebook wall. Now, a different victim has responded to the post, saying he raped her six years ago and is filing a report with the police.
On Saturday, a local musician named Joel Magid did a rather unusual thing: He publicly admitted to sexually assaulting a woman, apologized for it, and vowed to take steps to make sure he never does it again.
Via Joel Magid (emphasis Peck):
I’ve done something reprehensible that I need to own up to. I realize Facebook may be not the ideal forum, but I am trying to inform as many people as possible. I recently sexually assaulted someone. In this encounter, I pulled out my penis, and forcibly lifted the woman’s skirt. A friend intervened and stopped my behavior. I was blacked out drunk when this happened and don’t remember any of the situation. That doesn’t excuse what I did.
Nothing excuses what I did. Sexual assault is horrific, disgusting, and inexcusable.
I want to say that I am sorry. I am sorry to the woman that I did this too, and everything she’s had to go through because of it. I am sorry to the friend who had to furiously and broken heartedly explain to me what I’d done. I am sorry to all my friends, my family and my partner, and especially to the all too-many of you who are sexual assault survivors. I know I’ve let you down.
I’m not looking for sympathy. I am just being honest and accountable for my behavior. I’m headed to my first AA meeting tomorrow as well as seeing a therapist about all this.
I recognize this hurts many people I know and I will lose friends because of my actions and I accept that and all the other consequences that will come from this. None of this rights my wrong, and nothing ever will. I can’t change that but I can change myself.
I also encourage others who have done this in the past to come forward and take responsibility. Because you do something really, really bad doesn’t make you a bad person, but hiding from what you’ve done certainly doesn’t make you a good one.
If anyone would like to know more, or talk to me about this in any way please feel free to contact me.
Some people commented on his post commending him for his honesty and calling him “brave.” Others, who seem to have more inside knowledge of Magid’s behavior, told him this apology doesn’t go nearly far enough and he needs to admit this wasn’t the first time.
Writes Theo Craig, a music director at Portland radio station XRAY-FM:
“Joel, this is reprehensible and inexcusable. You need to admit that this wasn’t the first time. You need to admit that you’ve dragged at least one past victim’s name and reputation through the mud, that you pitted a lot of people against A friend who was doing her best to stand up for a friend and protect others in our community from you. You need be ok with the fact we are no longer friends. I hope you get the help you need, but more than that I hope your victims get the love, support, and counsel to begin to heal, and I hope they’re able to someday feel safe again.”
“I cannot and will not accept responsibility for things I haven’t done,” Magid responded, which is odd, considering the only reason he knows he assaulted his latest victim is because someone witnessed it and told him.
A few days later, a woman named Wanda Bones wrote a Facebook post responding to Magid’s initial one, accusing him of raping her six years ago. (Read “allegedly” in front of everything, as Magid has yet to be charged with a crime, although it seems extremely likely that Bones is telling the truth.) I realize it’s long, but it is great and anyone who reads Magid’s post should read all of Bones’ post as well.
Via Wanda Bones (emphasis Peck):
Human readers of facebook, you have made it past the darned trigger warning, I commend you for continuing. On November 28th 2010 something happened to me that changed me as a person and has affected my life since. I don’t go into public detail about that night anymore because it is incredibly triggering for me and the *many* women I know to whom this has happened. For the past 2 days I have been living in hell. I have recently discovered that the man who sexually assaulted (i.e.raped) me almost 6 years ago has publicly announced his apology to his most current victim. What I have seen on his page from his post is a discussion about his situation involving words of praise for him being so “brave” as to come forward and acknowledge what he has done. This post is being written to bring up a multitude of issues I see surrounding this case in particular and so many others that I know have happened.
First off, yes sir, thank you for being so “brave” and for holding yourself accountable for your actions. Was this post after many people within your community were upset with your actions and called you to come out publicly for what you have done? I know there is that saying “don’t read the comments, they are never good” but something inside us ALWAYS wants to. I’m very happy to see your grandma still loves you after what you have done, that you still have time to turn to God for your salvation, that alcohol is what made you do this “reprehensible” act and that you truly believe AA is what will save you from doing it again. I would love to be presented with a half assed public apology 6 years too late for what you did to me, still waiting bud. Now let me fill you in on some things that I have gone through for the past 6 years.
Remember how I had to “furiously and broken heartedly” explain to my best friend what happened that night after she found me lying in my bed with puke next to me? Remember when I saw you at the gym that day and had a mental breakdown in the shower where I cried for 30 mins before letting myself leave? Remember when I ran into you at the coffee shop when I was with my current partner and couldn’t even enter because you were sitting there at the entrance enjoying the day? Remember when I called you out in a private group and it got back to you through a friend and then after you tried to silence me through facebook messages by telling me “I’m sorry that you have felt this way for so long BUT…”
The thing is, you may or may not remember any of these things. You may not even remember me, but I sure as fuck remember you. And seeing your face plastered all over facebook and the internet the past couple of days has given me immense emotional stress. Maybe its time for you to admit there are others, maybe even countless others, you have done this too. Maybe then after my public apology I can move on, or maybe we should both find God together! I hear he’s down to help us no matter what has happened in our lives.
So beyond all of this hurt and emotional stress I actually would like to bring up a couple more issues.
1) Why do we give men a pass for coming forward and admitting something horrible they have done. Is justice served in AA? I don’t think so. Why are men in music scenes in general not called out for reprehensible acts they have committed? Our local scene is indicative of a greater problem, the “boys club” of music where when someone has done something shitty FEW men come forward to speak against the abuser and the cycle goes on and on. Why do we leave it up to women/female identified persons for the most part to call out shitty behavior and abuse? WHERE ARE THE MEN WHEN WE NEED THEM THE MOST?
2) Why are women/female identified/anyone who has been abused not believed when they come forward with their story? What is it that makes these women so UNbelievable? Do we not want to believe its happened? Would we rather just go on with our lives the way they are? Its inexcusable and these people need to be HEARD!
3) Alcohol is NOT THE PROBLEM, neither are drugs. Rapists, rapists are the problem and what cause sexual assault, plain and simple. And a world that lets them get away with it all the fucking time.
I’m not trying to write so much that people won’t want to read so I will end it by stating my last issues.
1) Rapists/sexual assault predators are more than likely people you know. They can be in that band you saw play last week, they can be in your core group of friends, they are someone’s son, brother, grandchild. They are human and real. They will not be stopped until people come forward, refuse to support them any longer and cut them off from all the praise in life they have been given.
2) Sexual assault survivors are people you know. They aren’t just “that person that was assaulted and in the news” they are beautiful, wonderful, caring individuals whom are living their lives beyond what has happened to them. They are kick ass dope ass bitches who rule the fucking town and deal with emotional stress all the time and FUCKING SURVIVE IT!
So sir, thank you for being so bold and brave and surviving your ordeal that I’m sure will have lasting impacts on you for the rest of your life. But you will never know what I went through fully and what the other women you have done this to have gone through. I hope you get what you deserve and that people finally listen to what you have done and can stop it from happening ever again.
To anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted, I see you, I feel you. I believe you. Do whatever you can to heal and know that there are others who will support you and love you no matter what this does to you.
Thanks for reading. And the article from Oregon Live of my rapist is posted in the comments if you are curious and what further info.
Bones tells the Portland Mercury that she filed a police report about the 2010 incident. The police are investigating Magid’s recent confession as well, but without a victim to press charges, the investigation is unlikely to go anywhere.
What are we to make of all this?
Despite the social (and potentially legal) costs it incurs, owning up to one’s actions and apologizing is a necessary step if you ever want to come back, morally speaking, after committing an act of violence against someone. One of the worst things about dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault is the way both attackers and society can try to gaslight you into thinking you’re just being hysterical, it never actually happened, or maybe you’re just not not remembering it right. To have one’s attacker take responsibility for their actions can make a big difference as the community, the individual, and even the attacker try to understand and move forward. Contrary to what Magid says, I’m pretty sure raping someone does make you a bad person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become a better one.
As I’ve said many times over, the people who commit rape aren’t usually scary monsters who jump out of the bushes, but human beings raised in a culture that teaches them all the wrong things about sex, pleasure, consent, and female agency. This does not excuse their actions, but it should help us understand how rape happens. They are also usually members of a social group of some sort. Given these facts, it makes more sense for their communities to hold them accountable and fix what’s broken in them than to lock them up in jail forever, or, as is more often the case, simply do nothing about it.
Bones seems to get this in the bold paragraph, but rather than some form of restorative justice, she proposes a type of community punishment: She advises we “refuse to support them any longer and cut them off from all the praise in life they have been given.” In a world where rapists are supported by those around them and face no consequences, that’s fair. But what happens when they sincerely want to change? You need rehabilitation to follow the punishment, otherwise that person is going to remain dangerous. Even if you don’t care what happens to the rapist, for the sake of past victims as well as whoever they may cross paths with in the future, you need an environment of firm, empathetic accountability that is conducive to honesty and contrition.
In this situation, at least, it seems that Magid is only part of the way there and there are many misdeeds he has yet to admit to before he can even approach “not a total piece of shit” status. Major props to Wanda Bones for writing such a badass screed, and I hope she and Magid’s other victim(s) are able to move on from their trauma.
If you or someone you care about was sexually abused and you would like advice from an attorney about the rights and options for victims of child sexual abuse, please contact Crew Janci LLP today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or by using our private online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.