With the sudden onslaught of sexual abuse allegations all over the entertainment industry, it has become very hard to trust anyone now. For example, bands like Brand New, Pinegrove, and With Confidence have all had members that have been outed for sexual misconduct in the past two months. With some people quickly turning against these groups and some remaining unfazed by the news, others have been feeling rather conflicted about whether to support these bands anymore.

Music plays an integral role in many people’s lives. They listen to it on the ride to work or school, during their workouts or study sessions, at parties, anywhere. Some will follow bands religiously and become very attached to the members. These fans often idolize these people, and seeing them fall from grace can be a traumatizing experience for committed followers.

When a band or a member of it betrays their fans, the fans may rethink their connection to them. Can they continue to support a band that does not support them? The individuals that have been victimized are usually the ultra-vulnerable, impressionable, die-hard fans. Sexual abuse and crimes of the like show a total disregard and disrespect for all fans. Instead of being appreciative of the dedication, these people in power take advantage of those that would do anything to please them.

We trust the people that create the things we enjoy. We assume their quality of character will match their quality of content. However, when they prove that to be untrue, sometimes our own identity is in question. How could we have trusted them when they were actually so evil? What does that say about us and our judgment of character? We start to feel bad for even purchasing their merchandise or attending their concerts even though it is not our faults.

There are some steps you should take when a band member is accused of committing sexual assault. Firstly, do not question your own choices. What you did as an individual did not contribute to those horrid events occurring. Secondly, you might want to take a break from their music until everything is figured out. If you feel unsure or uncomfortable about listening to them, then do not. No one is forcing you to engage with them. Lastly, although it is difficult, you cannot become so emotionally attached to bands.

Bands are comprised of flawed humans whom you cannot worship, or you will end up hurt. Although they should be held to a higher standard, you cannot invest yourself so deeply in what they do. In an ideal world, it would be safe to assume that the people you like would never hurt you. However, in reality, you cannot expect that from the people in your real, personal life, so how can you expect that from virtual strangers?

The groups that have been exposed for these crimes are not the first and they will not be the last. This behavior has persisted throughout the music industry culture for years, and until we start holding the abusers accountable and making victims feel comfortable about going public with their accusations, it will never stop. Above all, stay safe and assist those who do come forward.