The mighty Death Valley Girls have a new album ‘Under the Spell of Joy‘ ready to be released on October 2, and the first single/video ‘The Universe‘ is out, but we’ll post about that later.
Yesterday, DVG’s singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden posted a powerful message on Instagram and we asked for her permission to share it here.
Bonnie and DVG
Hey, Bonnie here. I’m grateful to y’all for starting this conversation, it’s so scary. I need to, and am ready to be part of it and coming up with the solution. Please be kind and aware that all survivors are at different places in their recovery. There are as many survivors ready to talk about trauma as there are silently struggling to keep it together every day. Let’s try and keep this space safe for everyone.
Anyone that is experiencing any trauma, being triggered, or suffering from PTSD please seek help. Please go to therapy, create support groups, talk to trusted friends/adults or look into MAPS. It is a long process but recovery is possible and you are the most important thing.
I’ve been a victim of abuse since I was 10 and it’s the last thing I want to talk about.
If you know me you know I can barely handle a slight down shift in someone’s happiness without feeling personally responsible for making them feel entirely better forever. If you know me you know I love you. If you know me you know I don’t want you to feel sad:( so seeing all these people hurting in a way I am so familiar with is debilitating. Also to see it just focused on a label, city, or a few bands is so hard, cause it’s not addressing how pervasive the problem actually is. It’s scary when these things happen, I want change so bad, but I try to make change through art and music. We write songs that can make people feel happy for a while so they can forget their feelings for a bit. Or songs to make people feel strong, empowered, and connected. Cause that’s how I deal with my feelings. By listening/writing and hiding in music. But, I realize now I have to do more than that, and I’m sorry if I’m not doing it right or if I’m forgetting something important. I’ve figured a few things out I wanted to share and then let’s all keep sharing so we can get to a place of safety and strength everywhere we go.
I think this whole thing stems from what it means to be a “man” and what we expect from a “woman” and how that relates to how we treat EVERYONE. Most of us gal types have experienced an extremely traumatic event or two in our lives, horrible events yearly, terrible events monthly and annoying events daily. That’s the truth. And the only way to change the daily irritation of being harassed and treated like a dummy is to change what we have been ingrained to expect from each and every gender.
The BLM movement has been amazing in teaching us so much. One thing in particular that stands out is that it’s not enough to not be racist, we must all be vigilantly anti-racist. I think that applies to the way we treat women/victims and the abuse/mistreatment of all people. It’s not enough to be a feminist/not sexist, you have to be anti-sexism/abuse/mistreatment.
Not sure what being anti-sexism/abuse/mistreatment looks like, but we can figure it out together. We have been talking to each other, defining what safety looks like, feels like, when we felt we needed help from our friends or when we think we could have done more for someone else. Maybe ask yourself what is safe and what isn’t safe to you? Ask your friends what they think, and tell us cause the more we all know about safety and what we expect the more we can hold shitty people accountable. (Let’s try to think deeply about things that aren’t obviously unsafe feeling. The things that have been overlooked that you want someone that’s affected your life to read and know)
Like I said, I’ve been a victim of sexual assault since I was 10, and am not ready to discuss the details or the various assaults I’ve had since then. I spent a year of my life in the looney bin I think to avoid having to live in the reality of what happened. But, what I can say is that abuse created patterns for me, and I am still having trouble getting out of them.
I assumed that everyone else knows and respects “normal” boundaries, so I wouldn’t have to worry or defend myself.
I thought other people would keep my boundaries safe and if they didn’t that made them a “bad person” so they wouldn’t. Well it turns out people don’t give a shit about being a “bad person.”
I haven’t defended my boundaries like it’s life or death, I do defend my friends that hard but not myself. That means I have to look now at all my relationships and really examine who I give the power to. I think we should all look at power dynamics in our lives and help each other maintain boundaries and try and be strong in the boundaries we set for ourselves.
We all helped build this community because we needed a community. We needed somewhere to be ourselves and we needed each other. Let’s make the necessary changes together too. We have to.
If you wanna talk, we are here. I think someone should start a support group (or maybe someone has) for all these people going through and reliving these traumas. These are massive amounts of triggers and people need safety and love. Please stay safe and take care of each other.
Here are some places that have been helping me. Let me know what’s been helping you too:
Photo by Shit Show Dave