As one woman a week lays dying – A letter to Jake Luhrs
Content Warning: This article involves descriptions and discussion of domestic and family violence. Some survivors might find its content troubling.
Over the weekend, two of the most renowned vocalists to have ever worked within the Christian metalcore movement posed for a photo together; smiling and holding hands. One of the smiling gentlemen is As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis, who was charged, and convicted for the attempted murder of his wife.
The other vocalist in the photo is Jake Luhrs, from August Burns Red, who recently released his own devotional dubbed Mountains.
Music journalist – and now former August Burns Red fan – Mike Hohnen has penned an open letter to Luhrs.
First and foremost, thank you for the music.
I have lyrics from ‘Composure’ tattooed on my back, and the album art from ‘Constellations’ on my feet. You dug them – you told me yourself when I showed you at the barrier after your show at No Sleep Til Sydney in, like, 2011? 2012? Anyway.
It’s been a minute since we spoke, Jake. How are you – How’s life? Actually, let’s not stand on ceremony here and get to the point.
How fucking dare you?
I’m writing this from Australia, one of your most successful and stable touring and releasing markets. We love our heavy music, the world knows it. But we are far from perfect.
You see, in Australia, on average, one woman is killed a week by her current or former partner in an act of domestic violence. Of those who aren’t murdered, 40% experience recurring violence, even after they leave their partner.
Yesterday, you were one of my favourite artists. Now, you are just another set of blind eyes, a silent voice, and a poor example to your following; when we need the exact opposite to fight domestic violence plaguing not just my country, but yours and all others.
Tim Lambesis wascharged and convicted for attempting to have his wife murdered. He accepted this, attempted to blame substances, then eventuallyserved his sentence. Today I saw you standing beside him, smiling, holding hands.
You are a man of faith. You recently released your devotionalMountains. You speak of your purpose to spread love and forgiveness. What right do you have to forgive Tim Lambesis?
Did he attempt to murder your mother? Your wife? You? No. What if someone had tried to murder your mother, or wife, or sister?
How would you feel seeing a person with as large a following as you holding their hands and smiling in a photo? Disgusted, I imagine. Even with your devotion to forgiveness.
View this post on Instagram
Real friends hold hands. Throwback to seeing my good friend @timlambesis last week. So excited for him and the @asilaydying guys. They are doing big things and are hitting Europe soon. Safe travels boys, go get em 💪🏻
It stands to say you have no right to forgive him at all. The only people who can forgive Tim Lambesis are his children and former partner; and I’ve not seen any of them holding hands with him in a photo.
Doesn’t that say something? And what about the August Burns Red fan who now feels supported by you, personally, to dismiss the severity of this act of domestic assault, on account of their favourite singer signing off on the act? With a smile.
Does your friendship with Tim Lambesis mean more than your morals?
Your ethics, your values, your social responsibility?
More than yourfaith?
Do youreally believe all sin is equal? I’d think on that one for a minute before answering, as there are follow-up questions.
…Was this just a flex for the ‘gram?
Watch August Burns Red’s clip for ‘Meddler’ below:
“We’ll feed our flame before wasting time on anyone else’s – the gallows were not supposed to look like this.”
I think you’ve forgotten your own words as this morning I woke up to see you feeding your own flame; feeding a need for attention and relevance. Placing your own pride and ego over that of a woman who almost lost her life.
Now it’s time foryou to “Stop, listen and learn”: Men need to realise there are repercussions for abusive behaviour. We cannot hold their hands in photos and smile, we cannot give them platforms. Men like you need to realise that there are repercussions for supporting such behaviour.
We cannot do what you did, not if we want women to feel safe in their own homes. We need to do better.
You need to do better, Jake.
The gallows were not meant to look like this, not at all. Not with you, the singer of one of our favourite bands swinging the goddamn axe.
We needed better.
If you or someone you know is dealing with issues around domestic or family violence, you can call 1800 RESPECT. If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.