erich hagan is a writing performer from a dead-end street in a part of Boston its many fine institutions advise visitors to avoid. He’s honed his direct style of communication and obscenely sincere subject matter in bars, coffee shops, theaters, residences, warehouses and classrooms across the nation. The Boston Globe calls erich “tender, yet violent.” He was a member of the 2007 Providence Poetry Slam Team and represented Boston’s Cantab Lounge at the 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam.

Presently, erich is consumed by a project called The Analog/Digital Debate; a production team and stage show that blurs the intersection of independent music, performance poetry and noise art. In his spare time, he is a freelance audio workhorse and a volunteer sexual assault outreach advocate with no dietary restrictions, no pets, no advanced degree in any of the liberal arts and no idea what his living situation will be by the time you read this.

As long as rape and sexual violence continue, we have to keep talking about it out loud. We need to keep talking so we can figure out how to take action. And, anyway, talking with each other is action.

Click here for what erich has to say—in his own voice—about men and sexual assault.

And you can read it here:

i am here to facilitate a discussion of sexual assault

this is not what i do for a living
i hold no degree in any of the social sciences
yes, i am a man
no, i’m not sure what that means, either

and like many of you
i worry about giving the wrong impression
this is a difficult topic
but i believe that rape is not inevitable

the crazy stranger in the bushes
accounts for a minority of incidences
survivors are mostly acquainted with attackers

the predatory relative
the nice guy who has a hard time hearing no
the abusive partners of every gender, race and orientation

it is not an act of sex
nor a matter of miscommunication
it is a planned exertion of power

exploiting trust, confusion
and silence, relying on society’s
inclination to discredit victims of explicit crimes

what were they wearing?
what were they doing that late at night?
how could they have put themselves in that situation?

truthfully, it’s an understandable reaction
if the mistake was theirs, then the world is fair
we want to believe that it could not happen to us

but it does: one in four, one in seven,
one in thirty-three, nine out of ten times
rapists identify as straight males

statistics are not my expertise
i just recognize a threat when i see it
i can not let this remain a touchy subject

there are boys
taught consent is women’s fault
there are places where forcible intercourse is a military maneuver

i am here
because i believe there is a difference
between risk reduction and prevention

everyone takes precautions
clutches cellphones on the subway
avoids specific colors of clothing on certain streets

it solves nothing
personal awareness is important
but it does not address the source of violence

drunk driving used to be
something we were warned to watch out for
stay off the roads at night, after holidays

later, the issue was reframed
friends didnt let friends, and it was effective
less people were endangered, no one stopped drinking

it just wasn’t an excuse
it became an individual obligation
to stop violators from operating

each of us can intervene
in any way we are comfortable
but someone you know will almost definitely be affected
and it is not funny
that is unacceptable

all a perpetrator needs
is a target no one believes
should’ve known, had it coming, naive

there are dozens of ways to shift blame
none of them excuse the one person responsible
nobody asks for this, lost control is not an explanation

it is the effect, whether or not
she goes silent or fights, whether or not
he can call it assault or explain to his friends

this is not a women’s issue: men, this is one war
you will not be glorified for waging
we can end it

Catch erich performing live:

•Friday 10/16 @ Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NYC (236 East 3rd Street Between Ave B & C)

•Monday 11/2 @ LouderArts, Bar 13 (E 13th St & University Pl, New York, NY)

•Monday 11/16 @ Emerson College, Boston, MA

•Friday 11/17 @ The Bridge Cafe (1117 Elm St, Manchester, NH)

•Thursday 11/19 @ The Inkwell (665, 2nd Ave. Long Branch NJ)

For more contact:

Photo Credit: @ The Mercury Cafe — Denver, CO