Good vibes only

I’ve had enough of being groped in public places

You probably remember this video from a couple of years ago, “Tea and Consent.” It explains how you shouldn’t force someone to drink tea if they don’t want to (even if they’ve drank tea before). Seems simple right? Then why can’t I go and see my favourite band without being groped?

Me and “nearly half of female festival goers under 40, have faced unwanted sexual behaviour at a music festival,” which is outrageous. I can recall the music, the fairy lights and the warm summer air. I can also recall that familiar feeling of unwanted attention – the way my body went stiff in defence, searching for the quickest route out of the crowd. How I positioned myself away from the guy touching me. And this is just my experience –  there are many others who have been through similar, and not just at festivals. We can’t keep going through this.

We shouldn’t have to put up with unwanted sexual behaviour at all, let alone in public. It’s just not ok, no matter the location. The burden is on us girls, more than ever, to stick together and to look out for one another.

Some tips to stay safe:

  • Don’t leave each other alone – squads are only #goals if they stick together
  • Create a safe space among your friends to talk about things that make them feel uncomfortable – it’s okay to seek support
  • Scout out available help before the gig/party/festival/club night starts so you know where to go if need be – you can usually find wellbeing information on event websites and apps

You can find out more at Girls Against which is a campaign fighting sexual harassment and assault in the live music community. Remember, harassment goes beyond violent, dramatic abuse. Sometimes it is about being made to feel uncomfortable. You are entitled to your comfort, and to enjoy these occasions with peace of mind.

Summer may be over, but parties and gigs happen all year round. Let’s be part of the solution – check on your friends and use a “zero tolerance” approach to this kind of behaviour. You’re worth it.

Hannah West

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