Women and Sexual Assault at Concerts

Emily Elias, Assistant Opinion Editor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I love going to concerts to hear my favorite songs live. I love to sing and dance along to them carelessly and I love seeing how passionate the musicians are while on stage. The one thing that does take away some of the pleasure of a concert experience for me is the fear of sexual assault. It makes me intensely uncomfortable when older men leer at me whenever I go to concerts.

Sexual assault is a huge epidemic at concerts and I feel as though it’s not spoken about nearly enough. Sexual harassment, for example inappropriate groping, is even more common.

Although sexual assault at concerts happens most often to women, that doesn’t mean that other genders don’t experience it. Sexual assault can happen to anyone at any type of concert whether it be in a small capacity venue, a large arena or stadium, and even big, famous musical festivals like Coachella, SXSW, Reading and Leeds, Lollapalooza etc.

In  the article “There’s a Rape Problem at Music Festivals and Nobody Seems to Care” by Kate Lloyd for broadly.vice.com, there were three reports of sexual offenses at Glastonbury Festival in 2015 alone, and another two in the previous year. According to Lloyd’s article, two men were arrested for raping a woman at Reading Festival in 2014.

These are just a few reported cases. Now imagine all the sexual assaults that have occurred at concerts in previous years that haven’t even been reported because the victims are afraid to speak up.

It breaks my heart to know that people who are just trying to have an amazing time, in what’s supposed to be the great ambience of live music, end up with one of the most horrific experiences one could ever have.

It’s really important to speak up on this issue as much as possible, which is why I’m glad that Girls Against came along in October of 2015 to shed some light on this topic.

Girls Against is a campaign working to raise awareness of sexual harassment at concerts. It’s made up of four young girls- Hannah, Anni, Anna and Bea- who avidly go to concerts. Hannah, the founder of Girls Against, experienced sexual harassment at a concert in September  2015. This is when Hannah was inspired to start Girls Against.

According to their Tumblr blog, Girls Against hopes to start a bigger discussion about sexual assault at concerts; they are trying to open the discussion between fans, bands, promoters, venues and security companies, in order to raise awareness.

By speaking up, the people who are in charge of these concerts will eventually do something about it, and at some point put an end to it.

The founders of Girls Against, and supporters, aspire to eventually end sexual assault at concerts. They believe that by raising awareness and simply acknowledging the issue, it’s extremely possible that this epidemic will be conquered.

Bands like SWMRS, The 1975 and Wolf Alice are just a few of the many musicians who have shown their support for Girls Against.

Girls Against is the reason that I now know how big of an issue this is, which is why I’m genuinely grateful that it was founded. They are raising awareness on the issue of sexual assault at concerts, which is a part of the even bigger issue of rape.

Even though Girls Against is doing a lot to raising awareness, it isn’t enough. It’s a start, but we must speak about it more. If you see someone sexually harass another person at a concert, tell somebody. Tell a security guard, tell an employee of the venue, even tell the people who are around you at the concert. If possible, even tell the musician because they are very likely to speak up about the issue, making even more people aware of it.

In order to put an end to this, we as concert goers, must speak up. The perpetrators must be stopped. This is the most we can do in order to make the live music experience, a fun and safe space, which is how it should be.