Dublin band MUNKY recently released a song titled ‘One in Five’. All proceeds of the track are being donated to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, including 1\5th of their EP proceeds. The song itself was written in response to sexual assault, specifically the way that it’s dealt with in the courts and the media. As such, this article will focus a lot on sexual assault, so mind yourselves and proceed with caution.
‘One In Five’ appears on the debut EP from MUNKY – Un, Deux, Trois, Cat. It closes the EP with an attention grabbing vigour. Notably a step above on an already energetic EP of upbeat indie rock with a fun funky vibe. The title, ‘One In Five’, comes from statistics that one in five people will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime. It was produced and recorded by Dan Doherty of Darklands Audio Recording Studio.
‘One In Five’ confronts the reality of sexual abuse and targets the media, the people, and the courts reaction to it. The most notable Irish case in recent times was the rape accusation against rugby player Paddy Jackson. Jackson was found not guilty in the courts despite overwhelming evidence. During the trial the victim’s underwear were passed around the court and she was subjected to cruel, demeaning questions in the courtroom. Unfortunately, this is common in sexual assault cases. This can have a huge negative effect on the victim, furthering their trauma, as MUNKY outline:
“cried all night and the shame still sticks. It doesn’t matter that you have the texts, or the word of your family and friends. The fact you don’t wanna be the face of a national debate”
Being dismissed and disbelieved can make an already tough situation even more difficult to deal with, and the PTSD all the more damaging. Victims have been taught to feel shame, to blame themselves. This comes from the attitudes and reactions to previous cases over the last century. Meanwhile, the main focus on Paddy Jackson himself was about how he was a good outstanding member of the community and how he played rugby guys. He can’t be bad when he does the sports, and accusations like this will stop him being able to do the sports, which we can’t be having. In reality, whether found guilty or not, abuser’s careers and lives are minutely effected. Paddy Jackson, for example, just recently signed to London Irish.
From the #metoo movement we’ve seen how rarely perpetrators of abuse get jail time. On the rare occasion they do, they receive suspended sentences or insignificant jail times. The trauma of abuse and being subjected to a harsh, disbelieving court system does untold damage to the victim. As MUNKY phrase it, the discourse around the abuser is focused on how:
“He’s a brother, a father, a feminist, intellectual poetic expresser, and a national treasure. Everyone knows that his company is an absolute pleasure. They’re a big name in Italian leather, soon to move into sports and leisure. He’s just too pretty, and we don’t want him to be afraid, if you come after him then no men are safe”
This attitude ignores the fact that no one has been safe from sexual assault. It confronts the reality that society rarely believes victims. That the media and the courts focus on how the trial will ruin the abuser’s life, instead of focusing on the fact that the victim’s life is already damaged:
“It doesn’t matter that you still feel sick. They screwed up your insides, and now the only place you can hide, is anywhere but in the back of your mind. But you can’t leave the house, too scared to wear that blouse. It doesn’t matter that you cried all night and day and that the pain never fully goes away”
It is such an important subject to discuss and MUNKY have helped keep the conversation open. Sexual assault allegations continue to rise in this country, due to victims feeling safer because of this new movement and more open conversation. However, changes must be made in the reactions to those accusations. Just recently a rape allegation was ignored by Gardai to the extent that the Garda in charge of the case was reminded 15 times to look into the accusation and still nothing was done. This type of dismissive attitude isn’t uncommon and it continues to put lives at risk.
Through explosive energy and gritty vocals, MUNKY bring an urgency to the subject. The lyrics are starkly honest and, at times, painful to listen to, but they remain respectful throughout.
There needs to be an overhaul. Not only with regard to people’s attitudes, but also in the court system and what constitutes guilty and not guilty. The idea of prosecuting based on no reasonable doubt is flawed and continues to put people in danger. We need to start standing up for victims, allowing their voices to be heard.