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SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT IN MUSIC

This isn’t an easy one to write, but I felt like I had to, especially in light of recent events.

A couple months ago, stories and facts started coming up on all social medias, and masks started falling down.

I say “started” as of now, we still don’t know the extent of everything.

Something happened, that never should’ve happened.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

It’s a bunch of scary words, that no one really ever spoke about, YET, needed to be spoken of at some point.

First of all, it should be said that the music scene and the concert venues should be safe places for anyone that goes there. Artists, crews and fans.

Second, it also should be said that no one should take advantage of their position, as a man/woman and/or an artist, to grope or to touch or ask anything out of anyone.

To each his own body.

You’re an individual and you’re entitled to feel safe and not feel scared to go to a venue cause someone there will touch you, or scared that the artist that you admire is gonna turn out to be a dick.

Third, if you ever feel attacked or that someone has an inappropriate behaviour with you, you should ALWAYS tell your story. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak up.

I’m here, not to play hero, but to speak about something that scares me, disgusts me, and also makes me all angry because if it ever happened to any of my friends, or family, I’d go mental and probably try to punch a few faces.

I could copy paste a definition of what sexual harassment is on wikipedia or online, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you what it means to me.
To me, sexual harassment is when you go on a friend about how much you’d like to see him or her naked. It’s touching a friend or someone in inappropriate places. It’s requesting pics of them naked or half naked in exchange of something or blackmailing them. It’s making someone go through hell and feeling like the only thing that happened here was that you were horny and trying to calm your horniness in any way you could. It’s reckless behaviour and endangering someone for your own sake without even realising what you’re doing, only knowing you shouldn’t do it, but doing it still.

Music is my way out of reality. I go through multiple different emotions every day, and I escape those feelings through music.

So when I read and got it confirmed that at some point, people I look up to, or looked up to, actually endangered people and made them feel worthless and shitty, then I wanted nothing more to do with them. And it invalidated my feelings and my admiration to them.

No one should go through that moment where you feel like shit because some jerk took advantage of their position as a musician or as a person to force you to do something and made you feel like it was your fault or like you shouldn’t speak about it to anyone cause it’s just between you two. It’s fucking wrong.

I can’t imagine what it’s like, and the thought of anyone in my family or any of my friends going through it makes me shiver and I want to punch walls just thinking of it.

Between those last couple of months, musicians have been called out regarding some of their behaviours.

I just feel sad, knowing some people walked into a venue, thinking “I’m gonna see my heroes” or “I’m gonna see people I admire” and ended up going home, feeling like shit and wanting to never leave home again, because they got scared and scarred by assholes.

Two stories which made me feel VERY ANGRY were ones by ex-guitarist Luke from With Confidence, and another who surfaced later on by Mélanie Martinez.

One is the story of a band member who kept his private life private, pretending it was for his own good and private life, and who in fact, was requesting nudes from underage girls.
Another, is from a multi million followers pop star who ended up abusing her position as best friend and as pop star on one of her best friends.

What happened in both cases, very different yet very similar ?

They made someone feel like shit, took advantage of their position as someone the other looked up to and ended up breaking that trust and breaking the other person.

It infuriates me, because it’s come to the point where today, I look at twitter and wonder what’s gonna be the next name I see popping up on there and accusing someone I look up to of being an asshole, AND WITH GOOD REASONS.

When I hear stories about sexual harassment, I always believe the victim. Not because I think the bands or artists deserve it, but because I believe that the victims don’t deserve to feel the way they did. When all of this started coming together, I felt in pieces. I felt broken. I’d heard and stood against sexual harassment before, and I was aware of what it did and stood by the victims, showing my support. But it wasn’t until it hit close to home, with bands I look up to, and people I admire, putting at risk people I love ( attendees) that I decided to do something. And I’m sorry it took this long.

We’ll say it one more time for the people in the back:

  • YOU SHOULD NEVER HARASS SOMEONE SEXUALLY, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE OTHER PERSON ASKS YOU TO STOP
  • YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR POSITION (as a musician, or as someone trusted by another person) TO ASK FOR SEXUAL FAVORS
  • YOU SHOULD STOP SLUT-SHAMING PEOPLE WHO CLAIM THEY’VE BEEN ABUSED
  • YOU SHOULD STOP SLUT-SHAMING END OF DISCUSSION
  • YOU SHOULD NEVER INVALIDATE THE FEELINGS OF SOMEONE WHO SAYS THEY’VE BEEN ABUSED

And most importantly

  • DON’T FUCKING DO SOMETHING TO SOMEONE WHEN YOU KNOW YOU WOULDN’T WANT IT HAPPENING TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE

Too many people feel like they’re in the wrong for speaking up, but everyone should be allowed to have a voice. Especially when it’s to talk about such a subject.

Whatever your job or position or sex is, don’t fucking be an asshole. Don’t think that because it’s innocent to you, it didn’t hurt anyone else. And if it did, be a decent human being and offer counselling or apologies, even if it doesn’t fix things up.

BE HUMAN.

And if you don’t believe me, then maybe you’ll believe the following statements I’ve received from people, hoping you’ll understand how fucking wrong these acts are.

Witness #1

A family friend of ours, younger than I am by 2 years, forced himself on me while we were at my home. I was alone in my room changing and he was supposed to be taking a shower in the bathroom. He came into my room, my safe space, with just underwear on. He held me down on my bed, climbed on top of me, tried to pull my underwear off of me while he was thrusting himself against me, tried kissing me and pulling up my bra. I pulled my legs up to wear my knees were against his chest and pushed as hard as I could to get him off. I did, jumped off the bed but didn’t get far before he grabbed my arms, pulled my against him and put him bare penis against my stomach. He was moaning and telling me to look at him. I ripped my arms away but he grabbed my neck and tried putting my head down there to his penis twice in a row. I shoved him away once more. He put his arms around my stomach and pushed me over the side of my bed, with his forearm on my back. He tried pulling my underwear to the side, and then I kicked him in his privates. I don’t know how many times I told him to stop. To get off. That no means no and I meant it. He was just stronger than I am

Witness #2

In April 2015 I went to a small Pvris gig in London with a group of friends and my boyfriend. After the show we were stood outside the venue, trying to work out the next bus to catch. A confident guy came up to us and introduced himself as Dom. He repeatedly kept bragging & asking if we’d heard of his band ‘Nothing But Thieves’ and if we’d heard them on BBC Radio 1. As he was being funny & comparing himself to Russell Brand, he randomly turned around to my friend & said that she had shit eyebrows & is too skinny to be attractive. He then used me as an example against my friend on how eyebrows should look. Next thing, He grabs me by my throat, pins me against the wall and shoves his tongue down my throat in front of everyone! I was shocked and awkwardly laughed and told him not to do that again and that my boyfriend just saw. He disappeared for a couple of minutes and just grabbed me and did it again! My boyfriend and friends started having a go at him and threatened to hit him and Dom ran away!

As you can see, it can happen from anyone !  Whether it be from a family friend or a band-member…

I read those stories, and I shed a tear. I cried for the girls in these stories, because they shouldn’t have to fear getting out of their comfort zone, or even being attacked IN their comfort zone, whether it be in your bedroom or a concert venue.

I’m sorry this ever happened to you. I’m sorry to anyone who’s reading this and who’s tried to speak about it and wasn’t heard.

Know that you’ll always be heard by me and you’ll always have a listening ear to whatever you have to say. I can’t do much, but I can listen. And together, we can bring light to these events and right the wrongs done.

Hope this will help you reflect and give you the strength to speak up if you’ve ever been in any situation of harassment.

I love music. And I would never give it up. That’s why it’s hard for me to understand how someone who lives off their passion could do such a thing, or how anyone could ever do such a thing in general.

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