Heading to Australia next February as part of the Laneway 2014 lineup, synth-savvy Scottish band CHVRCHES have been enjoying a lot of extra attention since the release of their debut album.

While The Bones Of What You Believe has earned the Glaswegian trio plenty of buzz and acclaim (including our Tone Deaf reviewer calling the record a “brilliant, mind-blowing debut”), it’s also brought frontwoman Lauren Mayberry some unwanted attention.

As previously reported, the band publicly took a stand against a series of sexually explicit messages and online comments towards the 25-year-old vocalist, taking to their Facebook page over the surfeit of harassment.

“Please stop sending us emails like this,” wrote the trio, providing evidence of “one of the more polite” messages, in which a ‘fan’ asks to take Mayberry to dinner before suggesting they’d “make superior love together.” The band note that other crude notes have included “‘I’m going to give her anal’ and ‘I’d fuck the accent right out of her and she’d love it’. (‘No you wouldn’t; no, she really wouldn’t’ they reply).”

Following the post gaining traction online, Mayberry has been afforded the opportunity to present an opinion editorial via UK’s The Guardian; a thoughtful piece exploring the rampant misogyny and sexually abusive comments she’s had to endure by simply being the public face and voice of a popular band, while touching on several deeper topics about the state of the music industry.

Mayberry begins by conceding that CHVRCHES are a product of their times, “a band that was born on the internet” – demonstrating that online communication and exposure has guided them up each proverbial rung of the career ladder; from “their first wobbly steps”, as Mayberry puts it, releasing online singles, to their current position as one of the breakout bands of the year, but there are “downsides to being known on the internet.”“Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat? I hope not.”

Referring to the Facebook post – which “at the time of writing,” states Mayberry, “[has] reached 581,376 people, over five times the number of people who subscribe to the page itself, with almost 1,000 comments underneath the image” – the 25-year-old questions why women should have to “just deal with it”, as several dissenting commenters have suggested among the general support for Mayberry.

Except that, as the singer poignantly illustrates, what she has to “just deal” with is a daily torrent of sexual abuse against the relative few positive pearls of encouragement and support. “I have seen every message – good and bad – that has come into our inbox,” she writes. “But in order to get to the messages from people who genuinely wish to share something with the band, I must filter through every condescending and offensive message we receive.”

“I read them every morning when I get up. I read them after soundcheck. I read them, as we all do with our emails and notifications, on my phone on the bus or when I have a break in the day. And, after a while, despite the positive messages in the majority, the aggressive, intrusive nature of the other kind becomes overwhelming,” she adds.

“Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat? I hope not.”

Among pointing out additional creepy and misogynistic solicitations (“This isn’t rape culture. You’ll know rape culture when I’m raping you, bitch” reads one abhorrent ‘favourite’) and relaying her trials the thought-provoking piece posits the singer not as a victim, (“I am not a martyr, nor am I attempting to change the world in any revolutionary way,”) but as a woman who will not accept such misogyny.

“I do not accept… that it is all right for people to make comments ranging from ‘a bit sexist but generally harmless’ to openly sexually aggressive. That it is something that ‘just happens’,” she writes, while drawing a spotlight to the latent issues with the anonymity of online culture that allows such awful things to be said.

“It seems almost too obvious to ask, ‘Would you condone this behaviour if it was directed at your mother/sister/daughter/wife/girlfriend?’,” she questions, but reasons that “a little empathy” is exactly what her lewd ‘fans’ need to learn.

“Of my numerous personal failings (perpetual lateness; a tendency towards anxiety; a complete inability to bake anything, ever), naivety is not one,” the CHVRCHES vocalist charmingly notes, adding that the band have never pushed for an image that objectifies or sexualises Mayberry, “[We] make a pretty decent job of our band without conforming to the ‘push the girl to the front’ blueprint often relied upon by labels and management,” she explains.

“My involvement in this discussion is not motivated by a self-righteous or self-pitying urge,” Mayberry closes. “My hopes are that if anything good comes out of this, it will start a conversation, or continue the conversation which is already happening, encouraging others to reject an acceptance of the status quo, and that our band can continue to do what we are doing in our own way and on our own terms.”

Mayberry’s insightful piece follows closely on her bandmate Martin Doherty commenting that “Musicians are not rock stars anymore,” noting that the ‘sex, drugs, and rock n roll’ high life is a thing of the past, with today’s musicians having to work “as hard as possible” rather than simply indulging in their career’s spoils. “If you want to talk to rock stars, talk to poker players and software developers. They’re the new rock stars. They’re the ones having parties all the time.”

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