On the homepage of the Burning Man blog, EPlaya, it reads “Burning Man 2012 is a wrap, and it was a huge success!”
Directly to the right are many stories highlighted, all of good times and positive culture.
You can see that stuff right on the front, in color, in very visible and prominent ways. Hidden behind thousands of entries, with no special place, just one of a million, is this story posted on September 11 2012:
Thursday night my daughter (who is 19) and I went riding our bikes to a few art installations. We were sober. She decided to go see Burn Wall Street but I was tired. She took off on her bike. On the way to the installation it began to rain. She ducked into Want It Camp. 12 hours later she arrived back to our camp hallucinating and having been given an IV at the med tent.
My initial reaction: What a horrifying experience. This is what women’s nightmares and often their lives are made of. You’re nineteen years old, you go to what you expect to be this amazing, artistic, free-spirited experience, with your mother who has experienced it and enjoyed it and introduced you to it, and then…
She had been found behind Emerald City, face down and overdosing. The rangers assumed she had gotten drunk or taken drugs. Several hours after returning to our camp bruises appeared on her neck and it was obvious from other signs that she had been sexually attacked. She IDENTIFIED her attacker -a DJ from Want It- and he had an accomplice. There are NO rape kits on the playa nor forensic nurses. Because my daughter did not want to be taken to Reno, questioned for a 9th time (she had already given descriptions and a report to the Pershing County officials on the playa) she was told no charges could be filed. When a victim is taken from the playa to Reno they are given a rape kit there, all of their clothing taken for evidence and then they’re discharged; with no way back to the playa, their belongings or place to stay. If the victim is in shock and still under the influence of dosing they are not able to make a rational decision or find help either.
Then I got angry all over again. Real fucking angry at how women of all ages, with all their potential, enter into alternative lifestyles that promise what cannot be delivered without a FIGHT, and their hopes are dashed, their bodies attacked, their fear fed, their choices stripped from them, by this system and its patriarchy. There is no pocket, no corner of this culture, where women can be safe from rape, without constant struggle, exposure, and active resistance. Nothing that the police under this fucked up system are, nothing that they can be, can ever address that. They add trauma to trauma.
And no rape kits? People in these alternative lifestyles, which can foster and promote a great deal of creativity, are in fucking denial to a criminal level if they are not prepared to deal with the reality of rape. You are in a tent city that is known for (among other things) drug use, in a world with a terminal illness of rape culture, and you really think your pocket of culture has somehow transcended the daily reality of sexual abuse and assault? Without any real struggle against it?
There is nowhere left to go but to end this shit once and for all. And not by avoiding it or trying to “create a space” where you think it won’t affect you. An entire global culture that is so deeply FUCKED, ruled by violent pornography, saturated with domestic violence, and riddled with religions that viciously uphold dogmas of domination and degradation, it holds NOTHING FOR YOU. Nothing for me. And we are led to believe that we can somehow wish it away. Think again. We need to FIGHT IT head on, and END IT.
There were two other women reporting the same drugging, strangulation and rape that night.
Of course there were. OF COURSE THERE WERE. And how many unreported? And how many others that night in other parts of the country? How many that night, in the world? Because this shit is out of control. It is a nightmare, and a day should not go by, no matter who you are, no matter what a good person or a critical thinker you think you are, when you don’t think of this world as the horrifying nightmare it is, or a part of you has already given in.
This was my 7th Burn. Made sure my daughter was 18 before she was allowed to attend, and she is no dummy.
I am very proud of this woman who posted the story of her and her daughter. I feel for you, and for what you have been through, which is unacceptable and would be front page news if we lived in a society that was anything other than insane. But I have to say… “she is no dummy?” No shit. Did you think when you heard about rape before that it was just a bunch of dummies, going out and getting themselves raped? I am deeply sorry you felt that you had to qualify this tragic story with saying that your daughter is not stupid.
She has been going to school and living in San Francisco for a year, I told her BM was safe. So she accepted a glass of water (she thought) from a DJ and bouncer at Want It.
How could you know that this whole culture has to change? When places like Burning Man seem to be the best we can do in this sick and twisted world. You really did think it was safe. It is NOT YOUR FAULT this happened. The reality is, nowhere is safe. We all need to recognize that we can’t protect ourselves or our loved ones in the world as it is without fighting to end patriarchy, or we are buying the lie, which leads nowhere but to the paralysis of guilt and helplessness. We need to channel our creativity and our pain and our rage into exposing and directly challenging all things patriarchal, making this the new conversation, making it uncool to make music about fucking bitches, making it nauseating to watch video footage of women getting their assholes split open by foreign objects, making it ridiculous to argue for the well being of a fetus over the well being of a woman. And we have a head start already, because IT IS. Objectively. Uncool, nauseating, ridiculous. Horrifying. Unnecessary. And we can create a whole new culture — not just one supposedly safe place in a world of danger — that does nothing less than acknowledge reality, and fight to change it.
There is a special meeting being held by the BORG this month. My concern is How many times has this happened? Why are there no numbers? Why are there no Rape Kits on the playa?! We are a city. As a city we require the same medical and legal services available to any city. The Rangers were great and did a complete follow-up, as far as they could. The Pershing County Sheriff’s office has been less forthcoming and we are still waiting for a copy of the formal report. Please do what you can, or of you have been a victim please report this to the BORG or reply to my message here. this should never happen to ANYONE. Especially at Burning Man. I had always thought that rape and dosing on the playa were an urban myth. They are not and my daughter will never be the same.
“My daughter will never be the same.”
That should be the quote on the front fucking page of the Burning Man EPlaya Propaganda Blog, with a link to this story. Instead it is buried in heaps of misdirection. It is not Burning Man’s fault that patriarchy exists, and they actually can’t passively avoid it as long as they exist here and now, and yet organizers have a CHOICE to be in public denial about what they can achieve within this larger culture, despite evidence, they have a CHOICE to promote only all the positive aspects of the week, and they have the CHOICE to expose the story of this woman’s daughter and every other reported rape that happens in the camp, instead of ignore it. Shouldn’t Burning Man, for all it is, EXPOSE & REJECT RAPISTS, and FIGHT TO END PATRIARCHY???
I hope the BORG meeting goes well for this family, but unless the conclusion is that as things are you can’t hide from patriarchy, because your tent city exists in a whole world that upholds domination as sexy and women as objects, so we need to confront it and fight to end it, it will fall short of what is needed.
If any of this impatience, intolerance, and empathy strikes a chord with you CONTACT US TODAY. And if it doesn’t, what is wrong with you? We CAN confront this head on, we CAN discredit it, challenge it, we CAN struggle with people who have tried to make the intolerable tolerable, just to get through the day, we CAN do better than alternative lifestyles inside of this sick sad world! YOU can. Find a chapter near you, or fucking start one, yesterday wouldn’t be soon enough, donate now, or find another of many, many ways to get involved by emailing email@example.com.
This woman’s story on the one hand, should not have been buried, but on the other hand, really is one of millions, around the world and across generations, that will never get the right kind of attention, until we force reality onto the scene in ways that can no longer be avoided.
FIGHT BACK and REJECT an ENTIRE CULTURE of RAPE AND PORNOGRAPHY. Finally. And let’s be DONE with this shit.
For Bay Area contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For Seattle contact email@example.com
For Anywhere Else, contact firstname.lastname@example.org