10 Months Ago….


I was physically assaulted and emotionally abused by Seaway’s tour manager. And I’m so sick of keeping quiet and watching every band I love and adore be all chummy with him, including people who know what happened. As a TM for a pop punk band, he has access to leagues of young girls that aren’t safe around him. People should know.

It happened on tour in front of a line full of people at Seaway’s merch. He was screaming at me, like usual, calling me names and saying I wasn’t worth anything, like usual – that kind of stuff is awful and you should never allow someone to talk to you like that, but I did. For almost a year. I finally decided not to take it anymore. He was our tour manager too, and I was employing him (albeit not very much but he was the highest paid out of all of us) and he was still telling me horrible things every day. That’s when he got violent. He started throwing things at my head and pushed me, while screaming in my face. He winded me with the stuff he threw at my stomach and I screamed louder to draw attention to him, in the way you sort of are supposed to yell really loud to scare a bear that’s about to kill you. I tried to hit him back but he is massive. I pushed him and nothing happened. I spent the rest of the tour terrified.

I didn’t want to make a big deal about it after it happened. If I did, I knew he’d be removed from the tour and as much as I wanted him gone, I didn’t want seaway to have to go without someone running their merch in the middle of tour. I felt like everyone would blame me for his actions if I spoke up – oh Mariel you just know how to push people’s buttons – and some people did. Most of the very few people who knew what happened didn’t want to take sides – they said we’re both their friends. But the truth is when one friend tries to physically hurt another, smaller by 150+lbs friend, not taking sides means you’re saying abusing someone is ok. Not taking sides means you’ve taken a side and I continue to leave in fear and feel totally alone. People say if it’s true why didn’t I call the cops? I just wanted the whole thing to go away and I didn’t want to mess up things for seaway/other bands. It ruins a bands reputation to have conflict and I just wanted to tour and be able to continue to tour.

He still works for that band, and others – they know what he did, but others don’t, and I haven’t told more than a handful of people. I, however, haven’t worked much since and remain terrified to even attend certain shows or talk to certain people. I’ve been trying very hard to learn how to feel confident and safe again on stage, on tour, infront of other people. There’s nothing in the world that i’d rather do than play music and go on tour, and he took that safe, happy feeling I have on the road away from me.

Here’s the thing: It is never, ever, okay to lay a finger on another person, even if they’re a girl infiltrating your little circle of fun-loving bro-dudes at a pop punk show. I don’t care if no one believes me, but I can’t live with this weighing on my chest anymore. It’s been almost a year and it haunts me. Every single day I wake up and remember he told me no one is going to believe me, how I was just a crazy girl who’s band was terrible and he was going to make sure he ruined my career. Have fun on your last tour as a band, he said. So I kept quiet. I keep quiet because every day I see another band I love repping Seaway, and I’m afraid. I’m afraid and feel isolated.

I saw someone online claiming he was too rough to fans in the pit and I felt personally responsible for not warning anyone. I saw Ke$ha in the news go through the incredibly public and awful lawsuit with her abuser (admittedly, that is so horrific I can’t even imagine) and it made me more afraid but sort of hopeful that maybe someone would have my back. And most of all I felt like a sham, speaking up for women and encouraging them to share their stories and stand up for what they believe in, when I was terrified to do the same. I spoke to my best friend and she told me I need to tell someone. I need to put this out there. And I don’t think I could feel okay about myself if something happened because no one knew what he was like. Tons of young girls love seaway – and dudes too. No one is immune to assault.

I’ll probably delete this because I don’t know if im ready to have this out there. I haven’t spoken up earlier because I’m afraid – im afraid I won’t be able to tour in our scene, that no other band full of guys will want to take me out because they view me as a fussy, reckless person who’s more of a problem then she’s worth. Im afraid of everyone having my abuser’s back and not mine, which time has only proved is true. I feel very in it on my own, you know? I just want to tour and I just want to make records.

So here it is – maybe one day I’ll write more about it, but physical assault (and sexual assault though let me be clear, that is not something he did to me) can happen to anyone by anyone. It can happen with a dude you think is totally cool and nice and very charming, in fact it’s probably more likely. Abusers choose one or two people to abuse. They move from one the next where they think they can get away with it. Otherwise they’d be totally shunned by society if they were just abusive to everyone and a publicly crappy person. It is sneaky and slimy and from the outside often impossible to see unless, like in my case, he slips up and does it in public. This is why it looks like women lie, this is why the numbers of women who are assaulted look so shocking. You don’t think it could happen to you or someone you know by someone you call a friend. You always think it’d be a stranger trying to steal your purse in the street or a drunk guy at a bar who’s looking to start trouble. Not someone you trust.

tell me, why does no one stand up for the girls in our scene and make it almost impossible to stand up for ourselves? I’m not saying he should be fired from his job or that I want his life ruined. I’m saying he needs to be held accountable. He needs to seek help and know how he affected people. In an industry where we don’t have HR, we’re responsible for keeping it safe.

Another person giving music industry professionals a bad name has been outed. Consider yourselves warned.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.