An introspective on why, as an assault survivor, I choose to stand for and with Vic Mignogna and why the #IStandWithVic movement is an important one
Vic Mignogna. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.
Several years ago, I attended my first anime convention and it was one of the most exciting experiences I ever had. Being able to meet some of the voices behind the names of characters I was growing up with and having the opportunity to dress up and see other people?s exuberance was contagious.
Fast forwarding a few years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of and organize a convention of my own. Going from being star-struck and seeing and getting hugs from the celebrities I grew up with, to shaking hands and having dinners with them was a surreal transition.
So it was no surprise that when I heard rumors and allegations being made about a prominent voice actor in the DragonBall community, it caught my attention right away.
Image of the iconic Dragon Ball character, Broly (Voiced by Vic Mignogna)
Being a fan of the anime DragonBall, and DragonBall Z growing up, I had been excited by the announcements of the newly invigorated series, DragonBall Super.
When I had initially heard about the allegations of misconduct hanging over DragonBall Super: Broly?s titular lead character?s voice actor, Vic Mignogna, I was concerned.
Reading initial articles from various news outlets, and reading over the transcripts of interviews Vic Mignogna made, while the allegations were severe and convincing, something felt like it was missing.
I was one of countless people who remained neutral, wanting more information before jumping in with both feet, on either side of the unfolding drama. The more I waited, the more I saw a schism in the fandom communities. The hashtags #IStandWithVic and #KickVic were being thrown around and both sides had strong reasons for and against.
More details began to emerge surrounding the interviews, and it was after it was uncovered that the interviews being presented on various media outlets were conspicuously leaving out portions of answers, that is when my doubts became more substantiated.
As more articles came out denouncing and attacking, more of the inconsistencies started to bleed-through; the more questions I raised, the more I was struck down with ferocity by those who were firmly, and decidedly against Vic.
It had become clear to me at this point, that those who vehemently opposed Vic were less concerned with anything that did not strengthen the ire against him.
Edward Elrich (pictured left) voiced by Vic Mignogna
Before Vic declared that he filed a defamation lawsuit (against Funimation LLC, Monica Rial, Ron Toye III and Jamie Marchi), and even before YouTube star and Lawyer Nick Rekieta created a GoFundMe to assist Vic with legal fees, I started to openly question some of my observations on Twitter.
Quickly I was overrun by vitriolic tweets from any who believed that I was attempting to downplay, or defend Vic from the allegations ? and it was jarring.
I was shouted down by heinous allegations that I was an ?apologist? and that I was an ?internal misogynist?, all because I asked for clarification, with some going so far as to calling me an ?anti-semite? and outright blocking me before even reading anything I had to say in response.
Content Warning Ahead: Sexual Assault Discussion
Several years ago, I had been taken advantage of by a close friend. After an evening out at the club with friends, I returned to his house (as we had done several times before) and he provided drinks.
I had done this many times previously, despite several people warning me about being alone with him ? he had never attempted to do anything in the past and all anyone could tell me were unsubstantiated rumors, so I disregarded the warnings.
This particular evening, he decided to mix some kind of drug into my drink. All I remember about that night, was despite me only having that one drink I blacked out. I woke up the next day sick to my stomach and naked in his bed. He claimed that I got sick and he had to wash my clothing. Still confused, and in shock, I didn?t make a fuss; I got dressed, picked up my items and left.
I didn?t report it to the police, I barely even could muster the strength to tell any of those people closest to me. I was a mix of emotion, and even to this day I won?t speak his name. I just wanted it to not have happened.
The reason I share this story is because I can identify with Monica Rial, and I can understand why (or if) she decided to not do or say anything until many years later, I?ve lived it.
I also can remember in vivid detail everything that happened leading up to, and following that event. Where we differ, is that after I had this act inflicted upon me ? I never spoke to that man again. I never wanted to see him, I never wanted to say his name again.
So speaking as a survivor of sexual assault, it wasn?t me criticizing Monica or any other person that decided to share their story; I wanted to understand why and how she could find it in herself to stay involved in her alleged abuser?s life.
Monica Rial, voice actor for Funimation
When I attempted to question these things, I got branded as a ?rape apologist?. I was berated for not ?believing victims?, despite being one myself and all of a sudden it became less about protecting victims, and it became about protecting the message.
There are plenty of things that I will say, I agree with ? in terms of the #KickVic movement. I agree that companies such as Funimation, and RoosterTeeth, should hold each and every person under their employ responsible for their actions. That should be a standard that every company should uphold.
I agree that if there are people who are ?missing stairs?, these individuals should be exposed; they should be investigated, fairly and thoroughly, and if it is found that they are committing heinous acts, they should be treated appropriately.
That is why I will say, the #IStandWithVic movement is important.
While there have been plenty in the #KickVic movement that have shown they do not and will not tolerate contra-opinion, a majority of the movement and those who support it have also demonstrated that they aren?t ready to heal.
Why I finally chose the #IStandWithVic movement wasn?t because of any single person, it wasn?t because any group or influencer ? it was because I saw the commitment to being better.
I saw a group of people searching for answers, and searching for healing. I saw a community that wanted to repair. Even Vic has openly implored those who support him to only be kind to each other.
While there is warring on both sides of this hashtag, the #IStandWithVic movement, at it?s core, is a movement about healing and rising above hatred. Fundamentally, both sides want the same thing ? we want the end of assault, we want the end of hate and prejudice; we want our pain healed.
I spent many, many years ignoring and pretending like my pain didn?t exist; I had done so much to erase it from existence and it never really went away. It was only after acknowledging it, facing it and forcing myself to deal with the events was I able to finally overcome it and no longer let it rule over me.
I don?t believe we truly will ever know what happened between Vic and the people raising allegations against him ? clearly they have been hurt, that much is known and a lawsuit is not going to change history.
It?s time that as fans of anime, as fans who at the end of the day are just human beings, we stop letting our hatred rule over us and it?s time we rise above it. For Vic?s sake, for Monica?s sake and for our own sake.
It?s time for us to let the healing begin, and get back to enjoying what we love.