This story contains discussion and descriptions of sexual assault and harassment.
Australian musician Ash Waterman, who records music under the name Azure, has released a statement after sharing her experience of alleged sexual assault in a piece by The Industry Observer yesterday (May 11).
The story features four women making separate allegations of rape and assault in the Australian music industry, as part of an investigation by The Brag Media. It also includes new research by Dr. Jeff Crabtree into workplace sexual harassment in the Australian and New Zealand music industries, undertaken over two years from February 2019.
In the TIO story, Waterman alleges a male musician, described as “a member of a now defunct boy band”, sexually assaulted her in 2018 during a Halloween party at a Sydney Airbnb.
Waterman claims in the story that while she was asleep in one of the house’s bedrooms, the man entered the bed and digitally penetrated her without her consent.
“I couldn’t even talk, I was so drunk, and my eyes were rolling back,” Waterman told The Industry Observer. “I was just crying. My best friend Hannah and another girl came in and caught him under the blankets on top of me. They said, ‘Get away from her’.”
Waterman said that she had previous sexual interactions with the man, and when she confronted him about the alleged assault a year and a half after it took place, he purportedly told her, “Once you consent once I can do whatever I want.”
In a video posted to Waterman’s Instagram account last night, the musician addressed her alleged assaulter, those who she says stood by him, and the music industry as a whole, calling for change.
“I will speak to the man that assaulted me,” Waterman says. “I do not hate you. I do not need an apology. However, I am inviting you to be a part of this change, so that this will never happen to anybody else.”
“Secondly, I will speak to the music industry. This is the most revolutionary, exciting, inspiring time for all of us. This is true accountability, and we are building towards true equality. This revolution is genderless. This is not ‘cancelling’.”
Waterman addresses those in the industry who she says threatened her, made “abusive” messages and calls, and told her that her career was “ruined” after she came forward about the alleged assault.
“To the men in management that kicked me out of the studio that I paid for, because I was making my rapist and his enabling friends ‘uncomfortable’ downstairs. The same men that labelled me as ‘drama’ for disclosing, but then when I said, ‘I’ll never come forward’, they said, ‘Ash, you’re just one of the boys’.”
Waterman goes on to address friends who “chose to stay on the same side of the men with more followers – who saw what happened, and chose to stay with this team that covered it up”.
“To the managers that called me obsessed, [and] said I wanted attention,” she said.
“To the manager that, two weeks ago, texted me and told me that I would cause an abuser’s self-harm attempt, and he was sure that I’d be really happy about that. Just by telling my story. That this was my fault, for coming forward. That I wanted all the things that happened to me, and that it could have been worse.”
“To all of those people, I do not hate you. I was – and am – scared too. But I have a mother to make proud, I have a grandmother to honour, and one day, a future child to protect. History has its eyes on you and what you choose to do next.”
Watch the full video below:
Waterman’s statement follows both The Industry Observer‘s investigation, and a segment on last night’s episode of Channel 10 show The Project which focused on “Aussie music’s #MeToo moment”.
The segment featured an interview with musician Jaguar Jonze, who recounted her alleged sexual assault by two producers. Dr. Crabtree also spoke about his research, which found that an estimated 96 percent of 145 survey participants had experienced some combination of harassment, assault and gender discrimination.