Trigger Warning: Sexual and dating violence
On February 1st, Evan Rachel Wood posted on her Instagram profile a laconic post naming Brian Warner, also known as Marilyn Manson, as her abuser of several years. She did not go into the details of the abuse she endured at Manson’s hands. However, back in 2018, Wood had already shared a detailed account of Manson’s actions in a testimony in front of Congress when she advocated for enacting the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights Act across the United States. The video of her testimony is publicly available and tells a harrowing story of grooming, gaslighting, and sexual violence Manson continuously inflicted upon Wood throughout their relationship. Manson was 18 years older than Wood, and she was only 18 years old when their relationship began.
Since her post on Instagram, Wood has been sharing accounts of other survivors of Manson’s abuse on her story. These include not only Manson’s former love interests but his professional relations as well, such as his personal assistant Ashley Walters. All women tell the same story of the man who has been meticulous and unwavering in his abuse tactics. Manson has been promptly dropped by his record label since Wood’s statement.
However, Wood’s testimony in Congress came out almost three years ago and, at the time, led to no considerable public outcry toward Manson. True, Wood did not name her abuser in the testimony, but it was not particularly hard to put together who this person was likely to be. Besides, in 2009, Manson himself stated in an interview that he would like to smash “her skull in with a sledgehammer.” At the moment of the interview, Wood had already been Manson’s ex.
It appears that the signs of Manson’s abuse of Wood and other women have been hiding in plain sight for more than a decade now, with little accountability. Manson has always been surrounded by a plethora of bizarre stories that all fed into his public persona of a nonconformist character who is, to put it simply, into some extra kinky and weird stuff. While Armie Hammer may have needed a separate account to share his enthusiasm for cannibalism, Manson has gotten away with making outright violent statements in his interviews by being written off as an “oversharing provocateur.”
Manson seems to finally be on the verge of facing some level of accountability now. Nonetheless, Wood’s story should teach us a lesson, which we should all know all too well by now, about the dangers of dismissing casual misogyny and normalization of violence against women displayed by anyone, no matter how bizarre their persona may appear to be.
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