Trigger warning: discussion of rape, assault.
We live in society which blames women, and to an extent men for what happens to them, particularly around assault and rape, often men are told to ‘enjoy it’ (Look at the reaction Shia Lebeouf’s claims recently) and women almost told to just ‘expect it’ – this is due to how men in society often see sex and how society sees women and women being objects to be gazed at. Women are asked when they are attacked about ‘what were you wearing?’ And ‘what were you doing?’ And sometimes just sometimes, ‘what were you drinking?’ and this is my problem, making jokes about roofies and how that’s a good way to get laid, is promoting rape culture.
Jack Barakat isn’t known for sharp and intelligent comment, granted, however making jokes about giving roofies to women to get laid is just irresponsible in the position he’s in, in two ways. First he’s the lead guitarist of a band (All Time Low, for the people who don’t know) which has a fanbase dominated by young women – the young women who he’s making jokes about drugging and having sex with without their consent (Brian Dales later apologised for the tweet, saying they were in the wrong context, but there is no right context for this, you are making jokes about attacking the very people who earn you a living). Another flaw is that Jack Barakat co-owns a bar in Baltimore – fans have met him in the bar he owns, and he thinks spiking drinks is amusing? This is disconcerting at the least.
Obviously, he’s not alone in making jokes about this, but it is not harmless, it is trivialising an issue that can affect thousands of people, in 2009 at least 15000 men and women in the USA end up in ER due to having their drinks spiked intentionally, and that’s just those that go to ER in the first place. I am beginning to believe the lack of responsibility on bands is becoming problematic, you are more than just musicians – you are the posters on the walls of thousands of young men and women, adored and looked up to by many who want to be on stage or just love the music you make. From a band that made a song like ‘Therapy’ it should be clear just how important music is in helping people recover, and that recovery could be, it might just be the very thing you’re cracking jokes about.
I can’t explain what he was thinking to have said the things he has, I begin to think he doesn’t think all that much, however it is right to expect better than this, not just from people who can play a guitar but from any man who thinks making jokes about giving rohypnol to women is a source of hilarity for them.