Ethan Kath of the band Crystal Castles sued former bandmate Alice Glass for defamation in October after she released a disturbing account alleging he had physically and emotionally abused her. Late last month, the defamation lawsuit was dismissed in court.
“This is a victory for survivors of abuse and sexual misconduct in countries where abusers use the court system to further victimize and keep people silent,” Glass wrote on Twitter after the ruling. In all caps, the Canadian singer added: “WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.”
Glass had charged Kath with “almost a decade of abuse, manipulation and psychological control,” starting from when she was just 15 years-old. “Claudio was very manipulative towards me,” she wrote. “Over a period of many months, he gave me drugs and alcohol and had sex with me in an abandoned room at an apartment he managed. It wasn’t always consensual.” At least one other woman has also accused Kath of sexual assault.
After Glass wrote about the alleged abuse, Kath responded by dismissing her claims as the words of a mentally unstable drug addict, labeling them “extortion, false claims and accusations” and insinuating that Glass accused him of abuse because she was upset that the band had achieved success since her departure. He went on to sue Glass for defamation—but on Feb. 23, the Los Angeles Superior Court held that her “motion to strike” was granted, effectively dismissing Kath’s complaint in its entirety.
Glass’ victory in court is particularly important because of how often women and survivors are disenfranchised within the legal system. Women and survivors have nothing to gain—and often everything to lose—from speaking up about harassment, abuse and assault. They can lose jobs and important relationships in their industries, as well as ridicule, slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Even worse, they can face retaliation, threats and violence for coming forward.
Glass first accused Kath of misconduct around the onset of the #MeToo movement, as women and survivors of sexual abuse across the country—and the world—began speaking out about their experiences with sexual abuse and harassment. #MeToo and the use of social media to raise awareness about abuse, hold powerful men accountable and demand justice began largely because of the limited options women have in workplaces and the legal system to defend themselves.
While those who defend men accused of abuse frequently argue that #MeToo and believing women undermine due process, what’s rarely considered is that due to a wide range of circumstances, survivors’ testimonies are often the only evidence they are able to provide. The insistence within institutional and cultural power structures that those testimonies alone aren’t enough to justify consequences for alleged perpetrators denies survivors credibility—and has also denied many victims justice for generations.