Larkin Grimm Follows Up on Rape Accusations Against Swans' Michael Gira, Fixing Rape Culture

Larkin Grimm 2016

Larkin Grimm

Last Thursday (Feb. 25), indie singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Larkin Grimm accused Swans frontman Michael Gira of raping her in 2008. Gira has responded to the allegations, and now Grimm has provided Billboard with a reaction to Gira’s statement, as well as a summation of her own experience since coming forward. 

Grimm had been living with Gira and his former wife Siobhan Duffy while Gira produced an album he later released on his record label, Young God. In a Facebook post, Grimm accused Gira of raping her one night that spring, sexually harassing her in the months that followed, and finally dropping her from his label after she confronted him about the rape.  

On Saturday (Feb. 27), Grimm shared the following written statement with Billboard:

Yesterday was the worst day of my life. My phone was ringing constantly starting at 6am with calls from people concerned and anxious and worried about me. Many people close to me doubted my truth. I was receiving hate mail from so many men and a few women, and supportive messages from friends, family, fans, and women who have been raped. So many women told me their devastating stories of being raped, in graphic detail. It was heartbreaking. My whole body shook with constant adrenaline rushes and my heart beat wildly every time I opened a new message, not knowing what poison it might contain. 

At a certain point I turned off my phone, practiced the mantra meditation I learned in Nepal, and practiced yoga with a friend. This centered me and allowed me to continue my attempts to handle this situation with wisdom and compassion. 

Today was much better. Michael's statement is basically an admission of guilt, and underscores my message that we must all learn the meaning of consent so there are no blurred lines between sex and rape. 

I am not here to attack Michael. I could not publish this story without using his name, because other beloved producers I have worked with, like Martin Bisi and Tony Visconti, might accidentally be blamed. I had to name him. But he is just a man. If you gather together ten friends, five male and five female, chances are at least one of the men has raped and one of the women has been raped. The abuse of women is so prevalent and accepted in our culture!  This must change. I am here to protect other women. I am here to stand up for all victims of assault, be they male or female. I will not stand by and watch someone being abused and do nothing. This sacrifice of my privacy and dignity was WORTH IT. 

Anyone can be a rapist. All it takes is a moment of unchecked desire and a lack of self control. There are good men out there who may have raped in ignorance of the effects of their actions. 

Rape is always harmful, regardless of the circumstances. It may not always be physically violent, but it is psychologically violent. 

We need to have compassion for the ignorance of the rapist as well as compassion for the extraordinary difficulty and danger in reporting a rape. This problem can be solved with compassion, patience, and education. 

The statement Grimm refers to found Gira calling the 2008 incident “a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated.” Find that statement below, via Pitchfork:

Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, "this doesn't feel right," and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake.

Larkin may regret, as I certainly do, that the ill-advised tryst went even that far, but now, as then, I hold her in high esteem for her music and her courage as an artist.

I long ago apologized to my wife and family and told them the truth about this incident. My hope is that Larkin finds peace with the demons that have been darkening her soul since long before she and I ever met.

Gira initially responded to Grimm’s accusation via Facebook on Feb. 25, calling it a “slanderous lie.” Find that account, along with Grimm’s initial statement, in Billboard’s earlier report.